Doctors push Sindh govt to extend lockdown, say slum-dwellers at risk from coronavirus | Pakistan


Patients stand in line at the registry of a hospital in Pakistan, April 2, 2018. REUTERS/Saleem Shaikh/Files

KARACHI: Doctors on Tuesday pushed for the Sindh government to extend the lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus as a “large population of the city are slum-dwellers” and, therefore, at risk of getting infected by and spreading the pandemic.

In a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House, doctors and health professionals suggested that the lockdown conditions should not be eased after April 14 as the virus will spread like wildfire if restrictions were to be lifted. If limitations on social activities were removed, it was likely that the spread of coronavirus would not be controlled, they warned.

“A large population of the city are slum-dwellers — they live in small houses with large families, travel in buses [and] crowds,” they said, adding that if such kinds of crowds were not barred from assembling, COVID-19 infections can rise rapidly as people would catch the virus in buses or on the streets and take it back home, posing a risk to their family members and localities.

CM Shah told the meeting that he wanted support, cooperation, and guidance from doctors and medics to fight the coronavirus. He added that he would consult with the cabinet and other stakeholders on the matter.

The CEOs and owners of the private hospitals assured him that they would provide him equipment, human resources, and technical and expert support whenever the provincial government required. They also lauded the chief minister’s efforts and prompt action, noting that the situation could have been worse had he not taken timely measures.

Shah in this regard formed a committee headed by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho — with Dr Asim, Dr Sadia, and various others on board — to set up a plan, requirements, and arrangements to tackle the situation.

According to the Sindh government’s statement, participants of the meeting comprised Indus Hospital CEO Dr Abdul Bari, Essa Laboratory CEO Dr Farhan Essa Abdullah, Creek General Hospital CEO Dr Bilal Faiz, Health Care Commission CEO Manhaj Qudwai, Dr Ziauddin Group of Hospitals Chairperson Dr Asim Hussain, Dr Syed Junaid Shah of AO Clinic, Dr Saadia Virk of South City Hospital, Dr Umer Jang of National Medical Centre, Dr Tahir Yousuf of Tahir Medical Center, Dr Ali Imam of Imam Clinic, Ali Farhan of Darul Sehat, Dr Salman Fareedi of Liaquat National Hospital, Zerkais Ankleseria of Ankle Saria Hospital, Brigadier Dr Waqar of Memon Medical Institute, Dr Mazhar Nizam of Patel Hospital, Commodore Kamran Khan, AKU, and Dr Sadiq Ansari.

Emergency Operations Cell (EOC) Coordinator Rehan Baloch and Commissioner SHCC Jawad Amin Khan were also present in the meeting.

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