KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to close schools, impose a ban on indoor dining again and place several other restrictions across the province as COVID-19 cases continue to increase amid fears of a fourth wave.
The steps were taken Wednesday during the meeting of the Provincial Coronavirus Taskforce headed by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
Schools are to close from Friday for students of all classes, except for the exams of students enrolled in class 9 and above. Once exams are finished, schools will also close for students of class 9 and above.
During the meeting, the chief minister expressed concern over the worsening situation of COVID-19 in Sindh, where the positivity ratio has increased sharply during the past few days.
It was also decided to impose a ban on indoor restaurants, amusement parks, water parks, tourists spots, cinemas, gyms and indoor games from Friday.
The development comes amid a warning from health authorities of a fourth wave due to the non-implementation of safety protocols.
Before the Sindh taskforce meeting, CM Adviser Murtaza Wahab said, “the number of cases has sharply increased because people have failed to follow SOPs which may compel the Govt to take stricter decisions regarding the closure.”
The participants were informed that the provincial positivity has reached 7.4%. To this, CM Shah said a rate over 5% is a matter of concern for the government.
About Karachi, the meeting was told that the situation is alarming where the positivity was recorded at 17.11 on July 13.
It is pertinent to mention that Sindh had lifted the restrictions in phases during the past couple of months after new cases dropped.
Army to be called in again for SOP implementation
On Tuesday, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) announced that the Pakistan Army will be called in once again to implement the government’s mandated coronavirus SOPs.
The Pakistan Army was last mobilised in April to enforce coronavirus safety protocols in several parts of the country after Prime Minister Imran Khan had sought its help in curbing the spread of the virus.
The NCOC also decided to make coronavirus vaccination mandatory for domestic travel from August 1, a statement from the forum had said.
The forum had decided to impose smart lockdowns with the help of heat maps. The meeting was informed that the authorities in Islamabad, Multan Peshawar, and Gujranwala had taken action against people violating COVID-19 SOPs.
The authorities in these cities also sealed hotels where they had spotted violations of coronavirus SOPs, the forum was informed.
The forum also took notice of hotel staff and waiters performing their duties without getting vaccinated and not wearing masks, the statement from the forum said.
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