New measures to supplement provincial government’s extension of lockdown guidelines issued prior to Eidul Fitr
The Sindh government on Monday imposed restrictions across the province on any “unnecessary movement” after 8 p.m. from May 25 (Tuesday) in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, which is surging in major urban centers such as Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur.
Following a meeting of the provincial task force on coronavirus, authorities said that non-emergency movement would be banned after 8 p.m., with the provincial police chief directed to ensure citizens stopped traveling in cars without a specific purpose. The mobility restrictions would supplement the provincial government’s decision to extend by two weeks coronavirus restrictions that had been imposed earlier this month.
“We can ease COVID restrictions in Karachi when new cases are controlled,” Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said during the meeting, adding that the new restrictions were necessary to reduce the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases that had been reported following Eidul Fitr. He said he would personally pay surprise visits to various areas to monitor the implementation of SOPs, stressing that around 50 percent of daily new cases of COVID-19 were currently being reported from Sindh.
The restrictions being extended are as follows:
- Business hours for shops and businesses to be fixed at 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with exceptions for essential services.
- Bakeries and dairies allowed to operate till midnight daily, while pharmacies would be allowed to function 24/7—except those located inside shopping malls.
- Fridays and Sundays will be ‘off days’ for businesses, except in Hyderabad where Fridays and Saturdays would be designated off days.
- All outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants banned, though takeaway, drive-through and delivery services can continue
- Public transport to operate at 50 percent capacity with strict adoption of SOPs.
- All marriage halls, business centers and expo halls would remain closed until further notice
- All contact sports, indoor gyms, sports facilities, sporting tournaments would remain banned
- Theme parks, tourists spots, amusement parks, arcades would also remain closed
- Salons, cinemas and theaters, shrines would remain banned
Also on Monday, the chief minister directed the provincial health minister to make arrangements for mass vaccination in industrial areas of Sindh and urged her to seek help from industrialists to ensure their employees were inoculated. “We have to protect our people by vaccinating them,” he stressed.