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March 22, 2020

Centre to give Sindh $10m of World Bank funds to fight COVID-19 pandemic

Karachi

March 22, 2020

Sindh’s governor has said that the special isolation and quarantine facilities being established in Karachi by the government will continue to function until the time the COVID-19 emergency is completely over.

Imran Ismail said this on Saturday while talking to the media during his visit to the isolation facility and field hospital set up at the Expo Centre by the provincial government with the support of the Pakistan Army.

The governor said the government would establish more quarantine facilities in the province if there was any such need. He said the government had been trying its best to ensure that the maximum number of tests could be conducted to detect coronavirus cases in Karachi.

He also said the capability of conducting 3,000 such tests had been achieved. The federal and provincial governments, the Pakistan Army and the National Disaster Management Authority have been behind this collective achievement, he added.

He appreciated the services and equipment being provided by the army for the emergency treatment facilities being established for COVID-19 patients. He said that unspent development funds provided by the World Bank and available with the federal government were being provided to the provinces to immediately improve their capability to fight the pandemic.

Ismail said that the largest share of these funds — $10 million — would be provided to the Sindh government. He also said the Centre had withdrawn taxes and duties on medical equipment, gadgets and medicines required in the country to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The governor said he was displeased with seeing vehicular traffic on the roads of Karachi as if it were a routine day. He said the government had been compelled to observe harsh measures to keep the people indoors so as to prevent further transmission of the virus in the city.

He clarified that no situation of a lockdown existed in the metropolis. He said the people who were being kept in quarantine should observe the mandatory self-isolation period for their own health and also for the safety of others in their surroundings.

Ismail said the families of the people who were being kept in quarantine should also exercise patience and wait until the mandatory isolation period of the suspected coronavirus patients was over.

He said the assistance of the Saylani Welfare Trust had been availed to provide ration to the families of the people who had been quarantined or were observing mandatory self-isolation to prevent the further spread of the virus. He added that 100,000 ration bags would be provided to the needy families.

The governor said he had conveyed to Prime Minister Imran Khan the reservations of the business community about the present emergency situation, adding that the premier would announce a special economic package next week.