Saturday Jan 15 2022
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Schools will not be closed in Sindh, COVID-19 task force decides

People gather to receive their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine doses, at a vaccination center in Karachi, Pakistan April 28, 2021. — Reuters/File
People gather to receive their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine doses, at a vaccination center in Karachi, Pakistan April 28, 2021. — Reuters/File

  • CM Shah chairs meeting of COVID-19 task force.
  • Federal health officials warn of 50% infection rate in Karachi.
  • 430 Omicron variant cases have been detected in Karachi.

KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided that schools will not be closed and the educational activities will continue in the province despite an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the Provincial Task Force chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House. 

The chief minister had convened a meeting of the task force over the rising coronavirus cases across the province, especially Karachi, as the positivity ratio in the port city reached 35.30% in the last 24 hours.

According to reports, members of the COVID-19 body, the Sindh Health Department, and health experts attended the meeting to review the ongoing situation in the city.

During the meeting, the chief minister stated that officials who do not wear masks will face a fine. It was proposed to deduct one day's wage from the pay of any government employee who does not wear a mask on the workplace.

Key decisions taken:

  • Educational activities in the province will continue as usual.
  • All hospitals, both public and private, will be surveyed for capacity and need. 
  • Wearing a mask in wedding halls, markets, and public places will be mandatory.
  • Food will be distributed in boxes during the wedding ceremonies.
  • Only vaccinated individuals will be allowed in the markets, with administration checking vaccination card records.
  • Restaurants that do not comply with COVID-19 SOPs will face charges.
  • Additionally, the meeting determined to intensify immunisation campaigns throughout the province and to carefully adhere to SOPs.

Furthermore, the CM stated that with the public's cooperation, the ongoing coronavirus wave will be brought under control.

The task force will reconvene in a few days, and further decisions will be taken after a review, he added.

Karachi COVID-19 report

Sharing details on the COVID-19 situation, CM Shah said Friday 23 of 24 samples were found to be of the Omicron variant in Karachi when they were analysed through Next Genome Sequencing and Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) at Karachi's Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) and Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).

He maintained so far, 430 infections of the Omicron variant have been detected in Karachi, adding that 3,089 new cases of COVID-19 were reported when 15,719 tests were conducted in Sindh.

The chief minister said out of 3,089 new cases, 2,846 have been detected from Karachi.

Hyderabad has reported 104 cases, Shaheed Benazirabad 25, Sujawal 22, Naushahroferoze 19, Matiari 15, Mirpurkhas 14, Tando Allahyar 11, Tharparkar eight, Badin and Sanghar seven each, Larkana six, Umerkot five, Dadu and Ghotki four each, Sukkur three, Kashmore and Tando Muhammad Khan two each, Jacobabad and Jamshoro one each.

Will Karachi's infection rate increase further?

Meanwhile, federal health officials told Geo News that they expected the situation in Karachi to change in the coming week as the positivity ratio might hit 50%, leading to an increase in hospitalisations.

The officials also said that cases were expected to shoot up to 6,000.

Pakistan records highest infections since August 25

Meanwhile, Pakistan reported the highest number of cases — 4,286 — since August 25, 2021, in the last 24 hours, the National Command and Operation's Centre (NCOC) data showed Saturday morning, as compared to 3,567 a day earlier.

The positivity ratio also shot up to 8.16%, the highest since August 11, when 52,522 tests were conducted across the country, according to the NCOC data.

The overall cases have reached 1.32 million after the detection of new infections, while the death toll now stands at 29,003 as four deaths were reported from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours.