–Karachi to be placed under smart, micro lockdowns, says comissioner
–Punjab bans indoor marriage ceremonies to prevent virus spread
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE/KARACHI: Pakistan is witnessing a steady increase in coronavirus cases with each passing day as the country recorded 2,738 Covid-19 cases and 36 deaths in the last 24 hours, said the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) on Friday.
According to the NCOC, 36 more people succumbed to the disease, taking the death toll to 7,561. The NCOC said that with fresh inclusion of the infections in the country, the national tally of cases now currently stands at 368,665, whereas the number of active cases stands at 33,562. A total of 868 patients recovered from the virus during the last 24 hours, while 327,542 people have recovered from the deadly disease in the country so far.
A total of 42,909 tests were conducted across the country during this period, while 5,098,291 samples have been tested so far. The positivity rate has increased up to 6.3 per cent in the country.
In Sukkur, a doctor and surgical staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD). Reportedly, a heart surgeon and surgical staff had tested positive for the Covid-19. The doctor and the staff have been quarantined at homes, reports added.
Meanwhile, the NICVD administration, as a precautionary measure, suspended all the scheduled surgeries at the hospital till further orders. Till now only the emergency ward is operational and angioplasties are being carried out.
Meanwhile, the Punjab government on Friday notified a ban over indoor marriage ceremonies across the province amid the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. According to the notification, there would be a ban on holding indoor marriage ceremonies from November 20 until January 31. The marriage ceremonies and other public gatherings can be held in open places.
Not more than 300 persons would be allowed to attend ceremonies, the notification reads and directs to ensure implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to contain deadly virus spread. Wearing facemasks at public places has been declared mandatory.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) on Friday cancelled scheduled examinations amid a sharp increase in coronavirus cases. The examinations were scheduled to take place on November 21 and 22.
According to the PPSC, several Covid-19 cases are being reported from the examination centres, therefore the administration has decided to postpone the scheduled examinations. The new date of the examinations would be announced later.
Karachi Administrator Iftikhar Shallwani also announced on Friday that smart and micro lockdowns will be imposed in all districts of the city, as coronavirus cases have surged in the port city.
The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Shallwani which was attended by deputy commissioners and the district health officers. Secretary health Kazim Jatoi was also part of the meeting.
“Micro lockdowns will be imposed in districts Malir and Korangi,” said Shallwani. “All deputy commissioners should consult their respective health officers [on the lockdowns]. The notification announcing the lockdown should be released by today or tomorrow,” he added.
Shallwani said that Karachi’s districts south, east, central and west will release notifications announcing the imposition of smart lockdowns by Saturday.
In areas where the smart lockdowns will be imposed, no more than four persons will be allowed to gather at one place and wearing masks will be made compulsory. Only one person will be allowed to leave his/her house and will have to explain the reason for venturing out to law enforcement personnel.
The people will not be allowed to hold events or social gatherings in areas where the smart lockdowns will be imposed. Streets, neighbourhoods and areas will be sealed in accordance with the directives of the district health officers in the districts of Malir and Korangi, said Shallwani.
The number of coronavirus cases in Karachi is rapidly increasing and the people are frequently found violating the SOPs. In view of the prevailing situation, the Sindh government has set up an emergency control room in the health department building to deal with the Covid-19 second wave. A notification had been issued in this regard.
Four doctors and nine health officials would perform duties in the 24/7 emergency control room established on the sixth floor of the Sindh health department building. On the other hand, keeping in view the second wave of the coronavirus, the provincial government has cancelled the vacations of Sindh health department employees.
“We have reported 1,276 Covid-19 cases in the province during the last 24 hours,” said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in a statement on routine Covid-19 cases in the province.
He said that the province performed 12,975 tests, bringing the number of cases performed so far to 1,872,262. “We have so far reported 161,028 virus cases,” Murad Ali Shah said while conveying that 827 patients also recovered during the past 24 hours in the province, bringing total recoveries to 145,143.
The chief minister said that the death toll in the province has reached 2,799 after 19 more deaths reported from the province today. He said there are 13,086 active virus patients being treated currently.
Giving details of the Covid-19 cases reported from Karachi, Murad Ali Shah said that the provincial capital reported 929 cases in twenty-four hours, which included 333 cases from district South, 273 from East, 94 from Central, 92 from district West, 75 from Korangi, and 62 patients from district Malir.
Meanwhile, marriage halls in Karachi have been allowed to operate and hold functions after successful talks between the owners and Commissioner Shallwani on Friday.
Shallwani allowed the marriage halls in the city to operate under a fresh guideline aimed at the implementation of strict Covid-19 SOPs.
The guidelines read that no more than 300 guests would be allowed at the marriage halls during a function while banquets were directed to switch off their air conditioners and rather use fans for proper ventilation. The 40 per cent overhead area of the marriage halls should not be covered aimed at making a passage for fresh air.
Expressing his gratitude towards Karachi Commissioner Shallwani for giving permission to the marriage halls to operate, the general secretary of the marriage halls association said that they would ensure strict implementation of the Covid-19 SOPs.