Centre to fully support Sindh in battling alarming COVID-19 situation: Asad Umar

Pakistani Finance Minister Asad Umar speaks to the media during a press conference after stepping down from his ministry, in Islamabad on April 18, 2019. - Pakistan's finance minister Asad Umar has stepped down, he announced on April 18, with no replacement yet named as Islamabad seeks a crucial bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI / AFP)

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Tuesday extended full support to the Government of Sindh on behalf of the Centre in dealing with the alarming coronavirus situation in the province.  During the meeting, the minister — who is also the chief of the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC), the body which leads the country’s COVID-19 battle — appreciated the measures taken by the Sindh government to curb the spread of the virus. Umar said that the Centre is keeping a close eye on the situation in Sindh. The forum was informed that at present, the coronavirus positivity ratio in Karachi has reached 26.32% due to the violation of coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs). The meeting was briefed about the pressure the situation has exerted on hospitals as well as the urgent need to vaccinate as many people as possible. Meanwhile, the meeting was also told that the number of COVID-19 patients under intensive care in hospitals in Sindh has reached 980.  The minister informed the meeting that the measures taken by the NCOC include timely assistance to law enforcement agencies in implementing the SOPs, improvement of existing medical facilities, timely supply of oxygen, and continuous supply of vaccines. The fourth wave of coronavirus has hit Sindh with full force as the rate of positive cases continues to increase throughout the province. The spokesperson for the Sindh health department reported that within the last 24 hours, 7,783 COVID-19 tests were conducted in Karachi, out of which 1,932 people tested positive as the positivity rate in Karachi touched 26.32%.Additionally, the rate of positive COVID-19 cases has increased for Hyderabad and other districts in Sindh as well. The positivity rate in the last 24 hours was recorded at 6.34% for Hyderabad and it has increased from 1.87% to 3.40% for other districts in Sindh. The spokesperson further added that the overall rate of coronavirus cases within Sindh is at the highest in a week at 12.74%.Overall, a total of 18,112 tests were conducted in the province, out of which 2,308 people tested positive, while seven people lost their lives to the virus. Amid a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the province, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has issued directives to ban unnecessary movement after 6pm. The orders were issued during a meeting of the Provincial Task Force on Tuesday after reviewing the latest pandemic situation. CM Shah directed the additional IG police and commissioner Karachi to ensure timely closure of the markets, tuition centres and private gyms which are still operating. He urged people to stay home and avoid going out without any valid reason.


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