The Sindh government on Friday decided to take stringent steps like blocking SIM cards and withholding salaries of government employees for failing to get vaccinated in view of rise in Covid-19 cases in the province.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah asked the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to communicate its proposal to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Chief Minister Murad said that those government employees who haven’t got vaccinated will also have their salaries withheld.

In this regard, the CM asked the finance secretary to contact the attorney general of Sindh.

Moreover, in a meeting, the provincial task force decided to restrict the timings of shopping malls and markets from 6am to 6pm from Monday onwards; grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies will function as per their usual timings.

The provincial officials agreed to impose a ban on gathering for weddings and other occasions as well as close down shrines. Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants will also be closed from Monday; takeaways will, however, be allowed.

The participants also decided to close down all educational institutions from July 26, however, examinations will be held according to schedule.

The government and private sector offices were asked to revert back to maintaining half of the workforce’s attendance.

The meeting also decided that Fridays and Sundays will be observed as ‘safe days’.

EXTREMELY WORRYING SITUATION: Murad termed the situation of Covid-19 cases in the province extremely worrying, saying the situation could deteriorate now following Eid.

He observed that the condition of 1,002 patients is stated to be critical.

He was told that the condition of 457 patients has been reviewed. Of them, 35 percent of people got infected from Eid gatherings, 23 percent from wedding gatherings, 17 percent from markets, 12 percent from intercity travel and three percent at their places of work.

The meeting was informed that the Covid-19 positivity ratio in Sindh had risen to 10.3 percent.

Karachi reported 21.58 percentage of cases during the last 24 hours – district east recorded an average of 29 percent cases during the past one week, whereas the percentage remained 17 percent in districts Korangi, central and south and 10 percent in districts Malir and North.

The meeting was further apprised that at least 307 Covid patients breathed their last on July 21. Of these, 201 patients, or 65 percent, of the total died at hospitals.

Around 70 patients, or 23 percent, of the total died while they were on ventilators, while 36 or 12 percent breathed their last in their homes.

VACCINATION: Chief Minister Murad was apprised that 85 percent of people admitted in hospitals were unvaccinated. Moreover, 76 percent of the patients were said to have received one dose and were in a better condition than those who haven’t received any.
“This situation shows that vaccination is necessary,” the CM said.

He said that a total of 67,209,97 doses of vaccines had been received so far, of which 53,129,21 had been administered.

Provincial ministers Saeed Ghani and Jam Ikram, law advisor Murtaza Wahab, parliamentary secretary health Qasim Soomro, IG Sindh Mushtaq Mahar, assistant chief secretary home ministry, Qazi Shahid Pervaiz, principal secretary to CM, Sajid Jamal Abro, secretary finance, Hasan Naqvi, secretary health, Dr Kazim Jatoi, Dr Bari, Dr Sara, Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Saeed Qureshi and representatives of Core V, Rangers and other institutions attended the meeting.

TRADERS REJECT CLOSURE: Meanwhile, the traders association has rejected the Sindh government’s decision of two weekly holidays and the closure of shops at 6 pm.

All Pakistan Anjuman-i-Tajiran President Ajmal Baloch said in a statement that the Sindh government should immediately reconsider its decision as it would harm the business community.

He also rejected the decision to close indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants and wedding halls.

Ajmal questioned that election rallies were being held where nobody cared for coronavirus restrictions, but restaurants and wedding halls were being closed.

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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