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Sindh govt hints at reopening remaining sectors after devising SOPs

Karachi

June 3, 2020

The Sindh government has given the indication that the sectors that are still closed as part of the preventive lockdown against local transmission of the novel coronavirus in the province will soon be reopened after standard operating procedures (SOPs) are devised for them.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Sindh Information and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah hinted at such a possibility in the near future.

His statement comes in the wake of the recent easing off of the lockdown, after which the following sectors continue to remain closed: educational institutions, marriage halls, convention centres, amusement areas, cinemas, theatres, restaurants’ dining in facilities, beauty parlours and tourist spots.

Shah said that it is impossible to keep all sectors of business and economy closed for an indefinite period. He said that there is no valid basis to keep all the sectors continuously closed as part of the lockdown when COVID-19 has already infected so many people.

The minister said the Sindh government’s recent directives to ease off the lockdown in the province is in line with the decisions of the federal administration. He said the Sindh chief minister had earlier demanded that a strict lockdown be imposed across the country, which, he said, could have produced good results, but, he lamented, now the time had gone for such measures.

Shah said that the number of COVID-19 patients being treated at hospitals keeps on rising, so the public are required to observe all the necessary precautions.

He said that it is required of the government to ensure implementation of the SOPs devised for different sectors. He added that there would be no issue if army officials were to be deployed to ensure compliance with the SOPs.

Referring to Friday night’s mob attack on the Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, the minister said the government stands with doctors, nurses and the paramedical staff of hospitals, adding that the provincial administration has a zero-tolerance policy for any act of violence against health professionals.

He reiterated the Sindh government’s resolve that legal action would be taken against all the people who were involved in the attack on the hospital staff last week. He said they have demanded that people arriving in the country on international flights be properly screened. “We aren’t saying that the federal government is doing nothing, but it’s an alarming situation that needs to be dealt with seriously.”

Shah said non-essential businesses are allowed to remain open until 7pm on weekdays, while there will be a complete lockdown on the weekend across Sindh as in the rest of the country.

CM’s law adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab, who was also present on the occasion, recalled that schools across the province have remained closed since February 26. Wahab said there are 1,148 novel coronavirus patients in Sindh whose age is below 10. He added that the province has also been witnessing a rise in the number of women being diagnosed with the infection since Ramazan.