–Shah says 10pc of Covid-19 cases in province are locally transmitted
KARACHI: A day after banning congregational prayers at mosques to arrest the spread of novel coronavirus, the Sindh government on Friday ordered all grocery shops and stores to shut by 5:00pm from Saturday.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that all grocery shops across the province will be closed by 5:00pm instead of 8:00pm.
Earlier, the government had allowed shops selling essential food items to stay open from 8:00am to 8:00pm.
Meanwhile, 19 more coronavirus cases were detected in Sindh, bringing the provincial tally of COVID-19 cases to 449.
According to the Sindh Health Department, eleven cases were reported in Karachi, seven at Larkana quarantine center and one positive COVID-19 case was detected in Hyderabad.
Karachi’s count of COVID-19 positive patients has reached 164, while there are a total of 114 cases of local transmission in the port city so far.
Out of 449 cases in Sindh, 14 patients have recovered so far. All recovered patients belong to Karachi and Hyderabad.
While chairing a meeting at the CM House, Chief Minister Shah noted with alarm that 10 per cent of the total number of Covid-19 cases in the province were locally transmitted, terming it a “dangerous trend”.
Shah insisted that locally transmitted cases needed to be contained by taking further precautionary measures. He pointed out that excluding the ones reported amongst pilgrims in Larkana and Sukkur, there were 168 cases in the province, of which 102 were locally transmitted.
“This shows that local transmission is still progressing, therefore, we all have to observe complete lockdown, or we will not be in a position to control it,” he said.
The chief minister said that people needed to “understand the gravity of the ongoing situation”.
“Therefore, I have decided to curtail the operation hours of grocery shops and stores by three hours from Saturday,” he announced, saying that all grocery stores will be closed by 5pm every evening. Previously, the government had allowed grocery shops to remain open until 8pm.
Chief Minister Shah told Inspector General of Police Sindh Mushtaq Mahar to ensure that the orders were complied with.
Referring to restrictions on prayer congregations in the province, the chief minister said that it was a difficult decision to make but it was “aimed at saving people from local transmission”.
The Sindh government had announced yesterday that congregations comprising more than five people will not be allowed.
About 440 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Sindh — the highest in the country. Most of the cases have been detected in people with recent travel history, however, the number of locally transmitted cases is increasing. So far, 14 people have been cured.