The Sindh chief minister announced to shut down dining at restaurants and marriage halls, close shrines, recreational spots and educational institutions, except those where examinations are taking place and reduced business timings of markets/shops from 6am to 6pm from Monday.
CM Murad Ali Shah took the decision following the recommendations from Provincial Taskforce on Covid-19. The situation prompted the provincial government to send an SOS signal to the National Command and Operation Center for more oxygen cylinders and related equipment to treat the rising number of critical patients as oxygen crises intensified in Karachi hospitals.
Presiding over the meeting of Provincial Taskforce on Covid-19, the chief minister said that pharmacies and bakeries would operate as usual, but there would be two closed days: Friday and Sunday, while the government and private offices would function with 50 percent staff attendance, except the departments/organizations of essential services.
Briefing the meeting, Secretary Health Dr Kazim Jatoi said the overall Covid-19 detection ratio was recorded at 10.3 percent in the province but in Karachi it had peaked to 21.54 percent on July 22.
At this, the chief minister said on July 16 the infection rate in Karachi was 14.27 pc which has increased to 21.54 percent on July 22. “This is a dangerous situation, which needs to be checked, otherwise everything would slip out of control,” he said.
Following the meeting, the Sindh home department issued a notification cutting down business hours of general businesses, shopping malls, from 6am to 6pm, besides shutting down educational institutions, shrines, recreational places like Seaview, Hawksbay, Keenjhar Lake.
Meanwhile, an oxygen crisis at a Covid-19 treatment health facility in Karachi led to shifting of critical patients to Lyari General Hospital Karachi on Friday morning, during which one of them died as no High Dependency Unit (HDU) bed was available for the patients at the tertiary-care health facility, officials and relatives of the patients said.