KARACHI : Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has called for developing a national narrative and action plan to contain and combat Coronavirus, otherwise province-wise different actions and approaches would make no difference.
“A provincial Coronavirus Advisory Group has proposed extension of lockdown by another 14 days and we support the proposal if it is approved at national level. I know, two FOMOs `Fear-of Missing-Out’ criticizing me but I don’t care.”
This he said on Monday while addressing a press conference here at Auditorium of New Sindh Assembly Building. He was flanked by provincial Ministers, Saeed Ghani, Imtiaz Shaikh, Nasir Shah and Advisor Murtaza Wahab.
He said that the issue of coronavirus endemic was of Sindh alone or of Pakistan but it was a global issue and it has created crisis globally. “We have one option either to contain it or slow it down so that necessary health emergencies could be made, otherwise it would wreak havoc everywhere in the province and the country,” he said.
Mr Shah said that COVID-19 was such a serious emergency which none of us had ever seen and even thought of, therefore every decision to contain it must be made at national level and provincial government should follow them.
Daily KOVID-19 report: Disclosing daily report, the chief minister said that during last 24 hours 513 tests were conducted, of them 41 were diagnosed as positive and one patient died during the said period.
He said out of 513 test 41 results have been diagnosed as positive during last 24 hours. From Tuesday, we would conduct at least 1500 tests then ‘lets us see how many suspects come out s positive,” he said.
Mr Shah said that out 13309 tests conducted so far 1452 have been positive and one patient could not survive. The death toll has reached to 31 which is 2.1 percent of the total patients, he aid and added 31 patients recovered during the last 24 hours.
He said that 648 patients were in home isolation, 37 at isolation centers and 317 in hospitals. The number pf patients under the treatment is 1002. He added that out of 1452, 178 patients belong to Hyderabad, two to Jamshoro, one Badin, 12 Tando Mohammad Khan, two Sujawal, one Dadu, 8 Shaheed Benazirabad, two Sanghar, four Naushehroferoze, 274 pilgrims at Sukkur, 14 Khairpur, two Ghotki, 16 Larkana, one Jacobabad, 207 karachi east, 87 West, 205 South, 170 Central, 73 Malir, 95 Korangi. He added that if city-wise data was seen Karachi has 19.28 patients, Hyderabad 4.3 percent.
“I was trying to contain the virus but failed and finally it has intruded into slums, katchiabads and rural areas of the cities of Karachi and Hyderabad.
Lockdown: He said that one of the provinces has its Corona Advisory Group which has suggested further extension in the lockdown for another two weeks. “I am surprised that some people who were perhaps in the hibernation came up suddenly and started criticizing me for imposing lock down,” he said and added “I have no objection on your criticism in foul language but also criticize those who followed Sindh in lockdown.” He added that he was quite happy and content that the other provinces also followed lockdown through which we have succeeded in slowing down the spread.
Mr Shah said that his government announced to distribute ration but they [fed govt institutions] deliberately delayed sharing the data of the deserving people, as a result his government could not start distribution of ration. “No issue, the federal government has initiated distribution of cash, it is a good thing but its mechanism should have been different,” he said and added now people/women were being gathered to disburse cash in violation of social distancing SOP and any one of them could be infected and carry the same infection back to his/her home,”
He suggested that this disbursement should have been done on BISP model,” he said.
To a question, he said that provincial government was not sovereign and it could not print currency notes. “It is the job of federal government and they must take care of the people,” he said.
Replying to a question, the chief minister said “we can revive, reconstruct and reshape our sinking economy but we can’t revive the people who have lost their lives in coronavirus infection, therefore I am trying my best to save the people.”
To a question, Mr Shah said that the people refuse to meet with the COVID-19 patients and even do not receive their bodies and top of it they stage stage protest when coronavirus affected body was set to burry in their graveyard. “A poor and hungry person will not experience such an attitude,” he said and added this was why he was trying to save people of the prvince from the virus.
The chief minister conceded that being a human-being he might have committed mistakes in his decisions but he was sure that his mistakes had not caused as much loss as much his timely decisions have passed on health benefits to the people of the province.
Ration distribution: The chief minister said that 250,000 ration bags have been distributed so far. “We have released Rs1 billion for distribution of ration and the philanthropists have provided 300,000,” he said and added in this way we would distribute 500,000 bags all over Sindh. “I was quite surprised when the two federal ministers started raising finger of accusation against my government,” he said and urged them for God sake avoid to create friction in the national unity.
He said that the ration was distributed from 4 to 7 am every day and it was handed over to the deserving people at their door steps. He thanked Rangers and Police for helping the government in distribution of ration.
Fund: The chief minister said that he had created Coronavirus Emergency Fund in which the provincial government employees contributed Rs3 billion and Rs118 million have been donated by people of Pakistan. “I have heard that overseas Pakistanis have also donated about $1.5 million. “All the details of the fund have been put on the finance department website, and we have hired Fergusons to audit the account,” he said and added final agreement with Fergusons was about to sign.
To a question, the chief minister said that he has handed over some funds to Indus Hospital for procurement of equipment. “We have also given funds to Pak Army for establishment of EXPO center Field Hospital where they have procured required equipment on their own,” he said and thanked Pakistan Army, Corps Commander Karachi and GOC Karachi for their support and cooperation.
Equipment shortage: Mr Shah said that his government was facing shortage of equipment such as ventilators, PPEs, testing kits, testing machines. “Our vendor has agreed to accept our order but his goods are lying in London,” he said and added the federal government was competent to talk to British government.
He said that he has ordered preparation of PPEs locally but vents and testing kits and machines were required to be provided by the federal government. He thanked the federal government for providing PPES and some testing kits.
He said that the government of a particular province arranged 10,000 tests and 50,000 kits within few days, a similar facility may kindly be given to other provinces, he urged the Center.
According to WHO Sindh is the only province which conducts test as per their procedure, he said and hoped the other would also be following the course.
Ulemas: The chief minister thanked ulemas and religious scholars for their support and cooperation and understanding the situation. “I had met with them and would meet them again so that their further guidance could be sought,” he said.
He also thanked doctors, para-medical staff for their untiring services. He also thanked media for educating people.
Ramzan: The chief minister said that the holy month of Ramzan was approaching. He said that there was a dire need of developing a new SOP for Ramzan. “I have said a number of times that life has completely changed and now we all will have to change our day to day habits- the habits of living, eating, life style – everything must be based on health advisories,” he said.
Way forward: Sindh Chief Minister giving way forward said that a National Action Plan to combat COVID-19 should be framed. There should be a national narrative, he said and added the Army Public School carnage had developed national unity and subsequently a national action plan came into existence. At this juncture, a similar plan was need of the hour and we have to evolve it now, he urged.
Testing Capacity: Mr Shah said that at present our testing capacity was 500 per day and from next day it would be 15000 per day.
To a question about two ministers [Fasial Vawda and Ali Zaidi], the chief minister said that let them criticize us. They are what he said FOMOs `Fear of Missing Out’. “Let the FOMOs show their presence in the areas but they forgot that they tried to break national unity developed on Coronavirus threat.
The chief minister said that price of some items have increased. “This is the plight of our some traders that they have started minting money out of the crisis- they don’t have fear of God- I am surprised,” he said. He said that he would try to control the prices.
PPEs we provide ach and every one. Fed govt ne also gave PPEs, 80 hospitals material is on the way from the federal government.
Write of utility bills: The chief minister disclosed that he has written a letter to the prime minister to write of the electricity bills of upto Rs5000 and Rs2000 of gas bills. This would be a good relief to the poor people, he concluded.