KARACHI: The Sindh government has announced that educational institutions in the province will remain closed from March 2, 2020, to March 13, 2020.
Chief minister Sindh’s spokesperson confirmed that the decision had been taken during a meeting presided by the chief minister.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had taken the decision so that the isolation period of probable patients could be completed, saying that an estimated 738 pilgrims have so far returned from Iran in Sindh during the last one-and-a-half month.
Presiding over the fourth meeting of the Taskforce on Coronavirus in Sindh, the chief minister in consultation with the taskforce members, particularly the doctors, decided to keep educational institutions closed till March 13. “This closure will help suspects kept in isolation to complete their quarantine period,” he said.
The taskforce meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, provincial ministers, Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Syed Nasir Shah, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, PSCM Sajid jamal Abro, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shahlwani, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary health Zahid Abbasi, representatives of airport services, Civil Aviation Authority, FIA, DG Health services, Dr Bari of Indus Hospital, Dr Faisal of Aga Khan hospital and other concerned personnel.
The chief minister was briefed that there were six suspected patients belonging to Khairpur, Jacobabad, Tando Jam and Karachi South. They have been kept in quarantine and their samples have been sent for tests.
The meeting was told that out of six samples sent for test one result has been received which is negative while fives results were being awaited.
The meeting was told that 738 passengers have arrived in Karachi at Jinnah Terminal since Jan 15, 2020. The figures received from Taftan, reveal that 13,098 passengers have arrived from Iran. The chief minister directed all agencies, including the FIA and the health department to keep close coordination with concerned officers working at Taftan border so that they keep sharing day-to-day data of passengers that arrive.
CM Murad said that the data must contain passenger’s name, date of arrival, district, taluka and complete address, CNIC number, mobile number etc so that they could be tracked accordingly.
The meeting was told that the airport authorities have started enforcing all effective screening measures so that no active case could be able to enter into Karachi. The chair also directed Commissioner Karachi to visit Karachi Airport randomly.
The chief minister was told that the Minister Local Government, Mayor Karachi, Commissioner Karachi and other concerned people visited airport last night and found that best screening arrangements were made there.
The chief minister in his message to the people of Sindh said that there was no need to be worried of. “The measures that we are taking, which include closure of educational institutions, tracking passengers and coordinating with families of the pilgrims are purely for the safety of our people,” he said and urged them [people] to cooperate with the government so that the province and country could be kept safe from the coronavirus.
The chief minister directed the commissioner Karachi to tally the data provided by the airport authorities with Nadra so the addresses of some of the missing pilgrims could be ascertained for further action.
Sindh government previously ordered schools to be closed till March 2, 2020
Pakistan reported four cases of the pandemic coronavirus this month which has killed an estimated 2,700 and affected 80,000 around the world.
A previous notification from the Government of Sindh had announced the closure of educational institutions from February 27, 2020, to March 2, 2020.
On Saturday, a second coronavirus case was reported in Karachi. The Sindh Health department had disclosed that the man had been quarantined and all those with whom he had physical contact, had been isolated as well.
Meanwhile, public and private schools will remain closed till March 15 in Balochistan. The provincial government had announced that the Matriculation Examination under Balochistan Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education had been postponed and the same will be reorganised at a later date.
Coronavirus affects four in Pakistan, confirms Dr Zafar Mirza
“We have received reports of two more positive cases of coronavirus, one has been reported in Sindh province, (the) other in federal areas,” Dr Zafar Mirza, Pakistan’s health minister, had said during a press conference on Saturday.
However, the health minister had assured people not to panic over the outbreak of the novel infection in Pakistan. He said that the two patients undergoing treatment were getting better and one of them will soon be discharged from the hospital.
The virus’s symptoms include coughing, fever and breathing difficulties. The coronavirus originated from Wuhan’s wet markets where animals and human beings come into close contact and has spread to 60 countries around the globe.