Domestic flights to remain suspended for another week, says Murad
Says Sindh to triple coronavirus testing capacity: Thanks PM Imran Khan for extending lockdown with consensus
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that stricter lockdown is being implemented in the province till April 30 while COVID-19 testing capacity has been enhanced. He said there was consensus among the Centre and provinces not to open domestic flights for another week.
Addressing a news conference in Karachi on Wednesday, Murad Ali Shah ruled out any leniency or relaxation in the two-week extended lockdown. “We have decided in the meeting with the Prime Minister Imran Khan that with certain SOPs lockdown would be implemented strictly countrywide.”
The chief minister maintained that the province which has been conducting over 500 coronavirus tests in a day has now tripled its testing capacity. “During the last 24 hours 1,523 tests were conducted as the province received testing kits, protective gears and other medical equipment,” he added.
He said his government has now also received antibody kits to carry out tests. “I appeal to all to think about the people’s lives only,” he said.
The Sindh chief minister said so far 16,206 tests have been conducted in the province. “If someone is thinking that coronavirus infected less in Pakistan in comparison to the world then he is mistaken,” Murad cautioned his critics.
Sharing the statistics, the chief minister said 1,668 people were infected with coronavirus, 261 in hospitals, 507 recovered, 668 positive cases in Sindh while 45 people are in critical condition. He said the death ratio is 2.4 in Sindh while 41 people killed by the COVID-19 so far.
Murad said he was concerned that there might be a chance that many COVID-19 cases have not been reported.
He reiterated that this was the time to go forward in a unified direction and in his press conference he thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan a couple of times for extending the lockdown with consensus.
Commenting on the PM’s National Coordination Committee meeting, he agreed with Prime Minister’s statement that 98 percent participants were in agreement to extend the lockdown.
SOPs in Sindh
“In Sindh, we are not opening the shops of plumbers, electricians, tailors and hairdressers; in fact, the provincial government is allowing them to give services at customer’s doorsteps but for that, they would have to adopt certain SOPs,” the chief minister maintained.
He urged the people to get themselves straightened about one thing which is if the government had extended the lockdown then the threat was still there. “We are implementing stricter lockdown with exceptions. There will be no pillion riding and shops timing is from 8am to 5pm,” he added.
He said factories would be responsible for transportation of their employees in the province. The employees should be sanitized before entering the working place. “Restaurants are allowed home delivery services,” he said.
“No one should start any construction without permission of the administration,” the chief minister said.
He defended his government’s decision to lock down several union councils of Karachi. “People made fun of me but the things I know cannot be divulged at this moment,” Murad added. He acknowledged that sealing of 11 UCs in Karachi was a step in haste but it was "not wrong".
He requested people to forgive the government’s mistakes as they are working with ‘sincerity’.
He said Sindh government will submit a response in Supreme Court in writing on administration's position regarding steps taken to curb the spread COVID-19.
Murad said that the government would try to reach an agreement with religious scholars over holding prayer congregations in mosques. He said mosques are open and prayers were being said with restrictions.
In response to a question, Murad Ali Shah said “I am grateful to the prime minister for listening to me attentively. The prime minister has told me that he will meet ulema in two days to discuss the situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown,” he said.