Sindh COVID-19 task force recommends closing schools for 15 days

KARACHI: The Sindh task force on coronavirus has proposed the provincial authorities close schools for the next 15 days to limit the spread of COVID-19 cases.

The recommendations were given by the COVID-19 task force during a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday.

During the meeting, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho has also suggested it would be better to postpone the examinations for two weeks. A single exam should be conducted with strict adherence to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), she recommended.

Upon hearing the suggestion, CM Shah directed the Sindh Minister for Education Saeed Ghani to discuss the matter with all the stakeholders, including the management of private schools, before taking a final decision.

The health authorities told the meeting from March 26 to April 1, 2021, a positivity ratio of 4.63% has been recorded in Karachi, whereas it was found to be 5% in Hyderabad and 1.5 % in other areas of Sindh.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) representative present during the meeting informed participants that the UK strain of the coronavirus is growing at an alarming rate.

“The provincial task force has decided to approach the federal government to impose a ban on inter-provincial transport so that traveling of people to and from Sindh could be stopped to contain the virus,” read a statement from the task force.

A letter written from the provincial home department to the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) said that a ban should be imposed on inter-provincial or inter-city public transport for a period of two weeks. The letter suggested an immediate implementation of the ban with only giving two days to the public transport to reach their desired designation.

“Special focus and strict implementation should be ensured from districts with high positivity ratios,” it said while adding that goods transport would be allowed to move while following all SOPs.

The provincial government further recommended Covid vaccination of people suffering from chronic illness including heart, kidney diseases and cancer irrespective of their age. The novel coronavirus claimed two more lives in Sindh overnight, lifting the death toll to 4,506 whereas 256 new infections emerged.

According to a statement issued by the CM House, 9,050 samples were tested, out of which 256 or 2.8 percent turned out to be positive, taking the provincial tally to 266,172.

A total of 256,479 patients have recovered, including 95 overnight. Currently, 5,187 patients are under treatment, of the 4,897 are in home isolation, 8 at isolation centers and 282 at different hospitals.