KARACHI: As 51 new coronavirus cases and another death were reported, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday urged the masses to cooperate with the government during the ongoing lockdown till at least April 14, fearing that if the coronavirus spreads in katchi abadis (slum areas), the healthcare system of the province would be overrun.
In a video message, he said that many people in slum neighborhoods live in close proximity, sometimes even in a single room, and it would be difficult to contain the disease in such a scenario.
“We haven’t seen many cases from katchi abadis so far but if they start flooding in, we would have a big problem because our healthcare system would not be able to handle that situation,” said the CM, adding that the lockdown had been enforced to avoid such a scenario.
He urged people to maintain social distancing until at least April 14, saying that the provincial government would assess the situation thereafter. “It is my humble request to you all to stay at home and support the efforts of the government in these tumultuous times.”
According to the chief minister, a total of 8,931 people had been tested in the province until Sunday morning, out of which 881 were positive while 123 had recovered and gone home. He also expressed grief over the deaths caused by COVID-19 as another coronavirus patient passed away, bringing Sindh’s death toll to 16 on Sunday.
There were 743 active cases out of which 380 people were isolated in their residences and 224 in the government-run isolation facilities, while 139 were in different hospitals, he added.
“Those with no or mild symptoms, we are isolating them in their homes if they have a proper place available. If it is not, then we are keeping them in government-run isolation centers,” he explained.
CM Shah went on to say that a rapid response team was constituted to deal with the pandemic in every district of the province, responsible for identifying patients and conducting tests.
“If a patient comes onto the government’s radar, he or she will get proper treatment whether at home or in a hospital. Even if the patient is at home, a doctor calls daily to ensure that other family members or people are not being infected,” he explained.
He also appealed to the masses to stay at home, pointing out that the 123 people who recovered from the contagious disease were not given any medicine or vaccine as such, but were only isolated and recovered on their own.