–Markets to be set up only in designated areas in line with SOPs, testing to be enhanced in hotspots
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah gave on Wednesday the approval for setting up cattle markets in the province, however, making it clear that he had reservations on the matter.
The nod comes after cattle markets have been operational in various parts of the province for several days ahead of Eidul Azha, and even as over 1,000 more cases and 25 more deaths from Covid-19 surfaced in Sindh.
Presiding over a meeting on the day, he was told cattle market organisers had been persistently approaching relevant authorities, seeking permission for setting up the markets, after they were allowed elsewhere in the country.
At this, the CM replied, “I am, as a matter of fact, against granting permission for cattle markets due to the pandemic, but since a religious aspect is attached [to the matter], they may be established in line with standard operating procedures that will be issued by the home department.”
Outlining the measures that need to be taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the CM stressed that the markets were to be set up only as designated locations and children were not to be allowed entry to them.
Besides, he directed the health department to send mobile teams for testing cattle traders, organisers and buyers, in addition to ordering the provincial chief secretary to assign divisional commissioners the selection of locations for the markets. He stressed that the spots selected for the markets were ideally to be located out of cities and towns or in the suburbs.
The CM further directed deputy commissioners and SSPs to ensure that sacrificial animals were not being sold in the streets and on the roads.
“It will be dangerous and can attract large crowds, and therefore must not be allowed,” he explained.
Speaking about slaughtering sacrificial animals, the CM instructed Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah to designate a specific area for the activity in each union council.
“Given the seriousness of the pandemic, we can’t allow slaughtering of animals in every other street and there is a need for an appropriate mechanism to designate areas for the purpose,” he emphasised.
Later in the meeting, the CM directed the health department to increase testing in the province, after Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho told him that though the situation had deescalated to an extent, the pandemic was far from over.
Addressing health authorities, the CM said, “At least one person from each household in areas where the smart lockdown is imposed should be tested.”
On being told a rise was observed in the number of coronavirus cases in rural areas after testing was enhanced there, he issued directives for the Provincial Disaster Management Authority and Sindh chief secretary to launch an SMS advisory service for raising awareness about coronavirus-related symptoms and moving people to get themselves tested.
The CM’s directives came in the wake of the emergence of another 1,140 coronavirus cases in the province and 25 more contagion-related deaths.
Following this, the total number positive cases reported in Sindh so far rose to 108,913 and Covid-19 death toll climbed to 1,888.
Besides, 4,872 patients recovered from the infection overnight, raising the total number of recuperated patients in the province to 70,292.
This leaves 36,733 patients under treatment, with 35,530 in home-isolation, 87 quarantined in isolation centres and 1,116 being hospitalised. Among them, 763 are in critical condition, with 106 on ventilators.