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Pakistan locks down Karachi amid increase in COVID-19 cases

July 31, 2021
Pakistani authorities have imposed a lockdown in the southern Sindh province, including the commercial hub of Karachi and other urban centers, amid an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.
Pakistani authorities have imposed a lockdown in the southern Sindh province, including the commercial hub of Karachi and other urban centers, amid an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities have imposed a lockdown in the southern Sindh province, including the commercial hub of Karachi and other urban centers, amid an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.

The lockdown began Saturday and is set to last until Aug 8. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said Friday that a sudden rise in virus cases has flooded hospitals in Karachi, the provincial capital.

The Sindh provincial government is closing all markets, except for pharmacies, bakeries, gas stations and grocery stores, which still must close by 6 p.m. All transport between cities is halted and public busses arena is operating. Private cars and taxis are limited to two people, AP reported.

Ongoing examinations at schools and universities are also postponed until after the lockdown.

Nationwide, Pakistan on Saturday reported 65 deaths and 4,950 new virus cases in the past 24 hours. Pakistan has reported 1,029,811 confirmed cases and 23,360 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Restaurants will only be allowed to deliver food. No takeaway allowed. Vaccination cards of citizens roaming the streets will be checked. Vaccination centers to remain open during lockdown

The decision was taken during a provincial coronavirus task force meeting presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

Addressing a press conference to detail the decisions, Chief Minister Shah said due to the decisions taken by the provincial task force, Sindh was able to tackle the first, second and third waves of COVID-19 relatively better than other provinces. "But in this fourth wave, the Delta variant is the main concern," he added.

He noted that Karachi was the most affected city now, saying the virus spread fast in closed spaces and cases would multiply if measures were not taken to curb it.

"Just a month ago, there were an average of 500 cases daily in Sindh by the end of June. And now by July's end, the number of daily cases has increased to 3,000," he said.

Shah revealed that after the task force meeting, he had informed federal minister Asad Umar and SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan about its decisions, and "they assured us of helping us in implementing these decisions."

"This is not a complete lockdown. This is a partial lockdown," he said, noting that complete lockdown was the one that had been imposed last year on March 20. The chief minister appealed to the people to help the government successfully implement its decisions, saying "we will move towards reopening" from Aug. 9.

"If you help us, we will be able to contain the spread of this disease. People are asking what will happen after Aug. 8. We have to take measures so that our hospital facilities are not choked." — Agencies


July 31, 2021
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