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Sindh to ban indoor dining, close schools after uptick in Covid cases – Pakistan

The Sindh government on Wednesday decided to reimpose coronavirus restrictions with indoor dining and schools set to close again due to a resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the province.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Coronavirus presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

The ban on indoor dining would begin from tomorrow (July 15) night.

As for schools, all classes would be suspended from Friday while for grades 9 and above, only examinations would be held.

Closures from July 15 (Thursday):

  • Indoor dining
  • Indoor gyms and indoor sports activities
  • Cinemas

Closures from July 16 (Friday):

  • Schools except exams for grades 9 and above
  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Sea View, Hawkesbay and Keenjhar lake

Amusement parks, water parks, Sea View, Hawkesbay and Keenjhar lake are set to close from Friday while cinemas, indoor gyms and indoor sports activities would close from tomorrow.

The decision comes after health officials on Monday proposed renewed restrictions fearing the fourth wave of the pandemic rearing its head in the province, particularly in Karachi.

During the meeting, the participants were informed that the province’s positivity rate had increased to 7.4 per cent. The Sindh chief minister remarked that the positivity rate going beyond 5pc was a “dangerous situation” and deemed that the situation in Karachi was “very bad”.

Regarding the coronavirus situation in Karachi, the meeting was informed that the positivity rate was recorded as 17.11pc on July 13. According to the weekly report, the positivity rate in Karachi East was 21pc, 15pc in Karachi South, 12pc in Karachi Central and 8pc in Korangi.

The task force was told that 16,262 samples were tested for Covid-19 on July 13 from which 1,201 were positive. Currently, 837 patients were admitted in hospitals with majority of them in government facilities, said Sindh Health Secretary Kazim Jatoi.

It was also disclosed that 5,870,991 vaccine doses had been received so far while 4,465,908 doses had been administered.

The task force was informed that 356 cases of Covid-19 variants had appeared in Sindh till July 12 , which includes 96 cases of the UK variant, 162 cases of the South African variant, 66 cases of the Delta variant and 29 cases of the Brazilian variant.

The chief minister directed the health secretary to investigate the cases reported over the past eight days.

“I want the [case] history of every patient,” Murad said. He also questioned whether the patients had contracted the virus from abroad or whether they were infected by those who had recently travelled abroad.

On Monday, the Sindh health department had formally put forth the proposal to higher authorities warning that if immediate measures were not taken, the situation could further worsen and would ultimately lead to pressure on the health system.

More than 40 cases of the Delta variant — a highly virulent Covid-19 strain that has caused devastation in India a few months back — have been reported in Karachi during the current month.

“The surge in Covid-19 across the country, particularly in Karachi is alarming, which indicates that we are in the grip of a fourth wave. The Covid-19 unit at the Indus Hospital is full and the same is the case at other major tertiary care hospitals in the city,” said Dr Samreen Sarfaraz, a senior infectious diseases expert at the Indus Hospital.

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