COVID-19: Is Sindh government going to enforce smart lockdown?

The Sindh government along with some segments of media slammed the federal government for not enforcing a curfew-like lockdown. Now the same government despite the rise in the number of cases is moving towards a smart lockdown as advocated by PM Imran Khan.

smart lockdown

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah suggested imposing smart lockdown in the province amid coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday. Due to COVID-19, argue officials, economy was in worst conditions. Therefore, the province should now move towards a smart lockdown, CM advised.

The suggestion came during a meeting at the Chief Minister House, attended by provincial ministers, Director-General (DG) Rangers, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh Mushtaq Mehar, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah and others. The suggestion was also approved by the DG Rangers Sindh during the meeting.

A phase-wise opening of all the shops in the province was also suggested during the meeting, however, it was recommended that the timings of the opening should be different for separate sectors.

Earlier in the day, Sindh recorded 404 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, which is the highest number of infections in the province so far, according to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

Read More: Coronavirus infections in the US reach 1 million: J Hopkins University

In a video statement, he said that eight more people have died during the past 24 hours in the province, taking the number of people who have died from the disease to 100. He said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Sindh has reached 5,659 while a total of 51,790 tests have been conducted so far, including 3,729 done over the past 24 hours.

Moreover, 4,426 patients of coronavirus have been under treatment including 3,187 have been isolated at homes, the chief minister said. At isolation centers 762 patients have been admitted and 477 under treatment at hospitals, he added.

Sindh extends lockdown till May 9

On the 14th April, the Government of Sindh had extended the lockdown until May 9 after consulting with the federal government, issuing a set of new orders and guidelines to encourage social distancing and contain the coronavirus from spreading. Now it is planning to implement PM Khan’s idea of smart lockdown.

According to the notification, all schools, colleges, universities, madrassas, and tuition centers were to remain closed till May 9.

In continuation of its previous order, shopping malls, cinemas, wedding halls, showrooms, banquets, and hotels throughout the province would also remain closed. Shrines and other holy sites would also remain closed while inter- and intra-city public transport would remain suspended (except for food and essential items). This is actually what a smart lockdown; ensuring there are no large public gathers and people also get eatables.

The home department said, in accordance with the rules announced earlier, that not more than five persons (mosque staff) would be allowed to offer congregational prayers in mosques. For funeral and burial rights, only close family members were allowed to partake after informing the local SHO beforehand.

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Analysts believe that Pakistan’s economic condition does not allow the country to prolong a curfew-like lockdown. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been of the view that any attempt to restrict daily wagers to their residences might lead to some serious law and order situation.

We should, argued the premier, be careful before we decide to take any stern action to combat the Coronavirus outbreak. Some media persons slammed PM Imran for not comprehending the situation and letting the virus spread across the country. However, with the passage of time, the premier was able to offer concrete evidence to support his version of smart lockdown.

It is important to note that the Sindh government has now experienced that the province cannot remain shut for two more weeks. Therefore, it has now announced to review the rules concerning lockdown in the province and moving towards the idea of smart lockdown.

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