‘Centre to oppose any move that affects people’s livelihood’ | The Express Tribune

Reacting to the Sindh government’s decision to impose a lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that the Centre would oppose any decision that affects the livelihood of masses as per the policy of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to the handout released by the CM Sindh’s office, the lockdown would be imposed in the province from Saturday till August 8. All markets will remain closed during the lockdown, however, pharmacies are allowed to remain open and function.

Grocery stores, meat and vegetable shops, banks and fuel pumps will also remain open. However, essential shops will close at 6pm.

Read more: Covid hospitals in Karachi reaching capacity as Delta variant spreads

During the lockdown period, authorities can also snap-check vaccination certificates of citizens who step outside their homes. The meeting further decided to withhold the salaries of those government employees who are not vaccinated after August 31.

Inter-city transport will remain suspended during the period and government offices will remain closed from next week.

“We are carefully reviewing the Sindh government’s decision. The policy of the prime minister is very clear… We will oppose any move that affects the livelihood of common man,” Fawad wrote on his Twitter handle, hours after the provincial government’s announcement.

He said that National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and the Sindh government should formulate a strategy that does not affect the livelihoods and businesses of the people.

The highly contagious Delta variant was first identified in India in December 2020. It wreaked havoc in India and has led to a major outbreak across the globe since.

Its spread had reached alarming levels in Sindh, particularly in Karachi with CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah, earlier in the day, quoting health officials as saying that all positive cases in the port city were of the deadly Delta variant.

“The most affected in this situation is Karachi, due to the dense population which makes social distancing difficult.”

Also read: Delta variant and the fourth wave: Should we be worried?

“Looking at the situation, [we can say] that hospitals may choke in four to five days if we do not take steps to control the spread of the virus.”

In this scenario, the CM added, the meeting was held with the stakeholders. “We have decided to enforce a partial lockdown in the province.”

During a press conference, held a day earlier, NCOC chief Asad Umar highlighted the severity of the disease and its rapid spread in Sindh.

He informed that the rate of SOP compliance was the lowest for Sindh in the entire country, at 33%.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said that hospitals in Karachi were under clear burden.

The positivity rate of the country was at 7.5% with 50% of critical care patients in hospitals due to Covid-19.

Umar reiterated that shutting cities down was not a viable solution in the long term.

“As soon as the numbers decrease, we start thinking that the virus is finished. However, our actions are directly linked to the spreading of the virus”, he claimed, adding that the only solution is vaccinating against the virus.

The federal government had also warned of a sudden surge in the rate of virus positivity, stating that the healthcare system was overwhelmed with increased demand for oxygen.




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