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Sindh to Retain COVID Restrictions as Cases Surge

by Staff Report

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In statement, provincial chief minister said there was no justification to ease restrictions as advised by NCOC, while cases continue to climb

The Sindh government on Thursday announced it was maintain COVID-19 restrictions imposed earlier this month, as the province reported its highest single-day rise in new confirmed cases thus far this year.

“A record 20,421 coronavirus tests were conducted yesterday out of which 9,000 were in Karachi,” Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah announced following a meeting of the provincial task force on COVID-19, which was attended by provincial ministers, the chief secretary, law enforcement agencies, and representatives of the World Health Organization. He noted that 2,076 cases had tested positive in the past 24 hours, a positivity ratio of 10.2 percent. In provincial capital Karachi, he said, the positivity rate had climbed to 16.82 percent.

On Wednesday, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) had announced easing of several restrictions imposed to curb mobility amidst the ongoing third wave of the pandemic, including a staggered reopening of educational institutions; the resumption of outdoor dining at restaurants; the resumption of tourism; and permission for wedding receptions with up to 150 guests.

Expressing alarm at the drastic rise in COVID-19 cases in Sindh, Shah said that a week ago, on May 13, the province had reported 1,232 cases of the coronavirus. “After Eid, on May 19, there were 2,076 cases which is a positivity of 10.2 percent,” he said. “It is clear from this that cases are rising in Sindh,” he said, adding that this made it “difficult” to ease restrictions as recommended by the NCOC.

According to sources, the task force meeting decided to review existing restrictions on Saturday, adding that if the situation had improved by then, the guidelines could be eased. If there is no visible decline, they advised, further restrictions should be imposed.

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