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Threat Of Fourth Wave Of COVID-19, Sindh To Impose New Restrictions


Just a month after the Sindh government decided to withhold salaries of those who have not been vaccinated, provincial authorities banned a number of facilities, including hospital treatment or elective surgery, as well as job interviews.

According to the report, in an official statement, the Sindh Health Department said that people would not be allowed to go to the outpatient department (OPD) of hospitals without a vaccine certificate.

Sindh Director-General of Health Dr Irshad Memon said that “those who have been vaccinated will be allowed to undergo elective surgery.”

“Coronavirus vaccination certificate is mandatory for health services in both public and private hospitals. Candidates should show coronavirus vaccination certificates for job tests and interviews,” he said.

The statement said all public and private agencies would be responsible for checking the coronavirus vaccine certification.

It may be recalled that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had directed the Finance Ministry to withhold the salaries of government employees who refused to be vaccinated against coronavirus in July.

In the first week of June, while presiding over a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Code 19, the Chief Minister had said that “the salaries of government employees who are not vaccinated will be withheld from July”.

He had directed the Chief Secretary to give the month of June to government employees for vaccination and he had made the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory.

“We have to take some drastic measures to keep our citizens safe,” he said.

The Sindh government in a recent announcement has also banned non-vaccinated people from entering marriage halls, restaurants and other food and beverage hotels.

The health department spokesman said that the restrictions would take effect soon.

He said that the Deputy Commissioners have the power to issue orders on the spot under which they have started the inspection process and have taken action against the shops and restaurants violating the instructions on the COVID-19 certificate.

“Officials can warn, fine or even seal any shop for violations,” he said.

The spokesman said the bans help encourage the general public to understand the need for vaccinations while they also acknowledged that coronavirus vaccination rates are better in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

“I don’t think people are still serious about COVID-19,” he added.

According to health officials, 4 million people in the province have been vaccinated against the coronavirus since February.

Talking about the non-vaccination of coronavirus on medical grounds, he said that there are no guidelines from NCOC on this issue.

“If a person is old and has health complications, it is likely that he spends most of his time at home and therefore will not be a danger to others,” he said.

On the other hand, Sindh Transport Minister Owais Shah has said that only those who have been vaccinated will be allowed to travel in the province by public transport.

In a statement, he said that the passenger’s vaccine certificate would be checked.

The provincial minister directed the transporters to follow the guidelines of NCOC and issue tickets only to those who have shown vaccination certificates.

The minister warned that strict action would be taken against those who did not follow the instructions.

He further said that all the regional transport secretaries and concerned departments have been directed to monitor the implementation of the order during Eid.

PMA Reaction

The Pakistan Medical Association Sindh (PMA) called the restrictions “severe” and warned the provincial government that the forced vaccination could encourage the trade in fake Code 19 vaccination cards.

PMA Sindh President Dr Mirza Ali Azhar said that it was not acceptable to refuse to avail the services of OPD for those who did not get vaccinated.

He said the government should make people aware of the need to vaccinate.

He said that it must be made flexible and the first step towards that is to reassure them that the vaccine does not cause any harm.

The PMA president said that the media could present a program on the subject and family doctors could also play a positive role in it.

He even pointed out that so far the provincial government has vaccinated only 8% of the total population of Sindh.

“We need to vaccinate 80 per cent of the population so that we can avoid the virus and this can be achieved by creating awareness among the people instead of forcing them,” he said.

 



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