KARACHI: Amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the province, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has issued directives to ban unnecessary movement after 6pm.
The orders were issued during a meeting of the Provincial Task Force today after reviewing the latest pandemic situation.
CM Shah directed the additional IG police and commissioner Karachi to ensure timely closure of the markets, and closure of tuition centres and private gyms which were still operating.
He urged people to stay home and avoid going out without any valid reason.
Witnessing the current abnormal COVID spike, particularly in Karachi, the chief minister constituted a ministerial committee to sensitise all the stakeholders, including shopkeepers, traders, transporters and politicians to cooperate with the government in the supreme interest of public health.
He said that if precautions are not taken seriously, nothing will remain under control.
The committee comprises Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah, Minister Industries Jam Ikram Dharejo, Minister Transport Awais Qadir Shah and Adviser Law Murtaza Wahab with the task to meet with all the stakeholders, including politicians and sensitise them about the alarming COVID situation.
The chief minister reviewed the overall COVID situation and termed it “alarming”. He audited the available facilities at government hospitals and decided to declare some more hospitals as COVID facilities.
Briefing the meeting, Health Secretary Dr Kazim Jatoi said that the COVID-19 detection ratio in the province has reached 12.7% which was the highest in the fourth wave.
Shah said that on July 20, Karachi had a 20% detection rate which increased to 23% on July 21, 21.54% on July 22, 23.46% on July 24, 24.82% on July 25 and 26.32% on July 26.
“This is quite a critical situation,” he said.
After reviewing ventilator facilities at government hospitals, the chief minister said that hospitals were coming under pressure and directed the health secretary to make COVID facilities at three hospitals of the labour department, police hospital, Liaquatabad and New Karachi hospitals.
He also issued directions to establish a marquee-type of arrangement at Service and Korangi hospitals.
It was observed that some “political friends” were issuing irresponsible statements against the closure of markets or other activities.
“This results in misleading the public,” Shah said and added he was taking strict measures just to save the people of the province from the pandemic.
Meeting private hospitals’ CEOs
Later, CM Murad also held a meeting with the CEOs of private hospitals and urged them to upgrade their COVID related facilities.
The private hospitals’ CEOs briefed the chief minister about the facilities they have set up for COVID patients and also told him about their efforts in the vaccination drive.
Shah directed the health secretary to make a WhatsApp group with private hospitals for close coordination and guidance.