Continue Sindh coronavirus lockdown after April 14, doctors urge CM Shah

Web Desk
April 07, 2020

Infections would rise rapidly if people could catch coronavirus in buses or on streets and take it back home, the doctors warned

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A doctor wearing a protective mask speaks on a phone as he leaves an isolation ward set up as a preventative measure following the coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan, January 31, 2020. AFP/Aamir Qureshi/Files

KARACHI: Doctors in Sindh said Tuesday the provincial government should continue the lockdown beyond April 14 in a bid to contain the novel coronavirus as a "large population of the city is slum-dwellers" and, therefore, at risk.

In a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House, the doctors and health professionals suggested that the lockdown should not be eased off after April 14 as the virus would spread like wildfire if restrictions were lifted. If limitations on social activities were removed, it was likely that the spread of coronavirus would not be controlled, they warned.

"A large population of the city is slum-dwellers — they live in small house with large families, travel in buses [and] crowds,” they said, adding that if such kind of crowds were allowed, COVID-19 infections could rise rapidly as people would catch the virus in buses or on streets and take it back home, posing a risk to their family members and localities.

CM Shah told the meeting that he wanted support, cooperation, and guidance from the doctors and medics to fight the coronavirus. He added that he would consult with the cabinet and other stakeholders on the matter.

The CEOs and owners of the private hospitals assured him that they would provide him equipment, human resources, and technical and expert support whenever the provincial government required. They also lauded the chief minister's efforts and prompt action, noting that the situation could have been worse had he not taken timely measures.

Shah in this regard formed a committee headed by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho — with Dr Asim, Dr Sadia, and various others on board — to set up a plan, requirements, and arrangements to tackle the situation.

According to the Sindh government's statement, participants of the meeting comprised Indus Hospital CEO Dr Abdul Bari, Essa Laboratory CEO Dr Farhan Essa Abdullah, Creek General Hospital CEO Dr Bilal Faiz, Health Care Commission CEO Manhaj Qudwai, Dr Ziauddin Group of Hospitals Chairperson Dr Asim Hussain, Dr Syed Junaid Shah of AO Clinic, Dr Saadia Virk of South City Hospital, Dr Umer Jang of National Medical Centre, Dr Tahir Yousuf of Tahir Medical Center, Dr Ali Imam of Imam Clinic, Ali Farhan of Darul Sehat, Dr Salman Fareedi of Liaquat National Hospital, Zerkais Ankleseria of Ankle Saria Hospital, Brigadier Dr Waqar of Memon Medical Institute, Dr Mazhar Nizam of Patel Hospital, Commodore Kamran Khan, AKU, and Dr Sadiq Ansari.

Emergency Operations Cell (EOC) Coordinator Rehan Baloch and Commissioner SHCC Jawad Amin Khan were also present in the meeting.

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