KARACHI: The three-week province-wide lockdown may not be eased off after April 14 as Chinese experts, owners and chief executive officers of private hospitals and leading doctors have urged the provincial government to extend the restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus in Sindh.
The provincial government had imposed a lockdown on March 23 for two weeks and then further extended the restrictions till April 14 in line with a decision made at the national level.
The suggestion to further extend the lockdown first came from experts from China during their meeting with Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho. Then in the evening, CEOs of leading hospitals and prominent doctors met Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and expressed the fear that the coronavirus could spread if the lockdown was not extended.
Sharing their experience with regard to the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese experts were of the view that at least an eight-week lockdown was crucial to halt the spread of Covid-19.
According to a health department statement, they while appreciating the steps taken by the provincial government said that social distancing was the key to stop the spread of the virus and the authorities should ensure the lockdown for a longer period.
Murad says he would consult cabinet, other stakeholders whether to extend lockdown beyond April 14
“For effective results, it’s crucial to extend the lockdown. In many areas of China, the lockdown continued for two months which proved fruitful,” said the Chinese experts.
“The Chinese experts reiterated their support to the Sindh government in terms of expertise, medical equipment and sharing experience in its fight against global pandemic.” said the statement.
During the meeting with private hospitals’ CEOs and doctors, the CM said he wanted their support, cooperation and guidance to fight coronavirus.
Those present in the meeting were Dr Abdul Bari of the Indus Hospital, Dr Asim Hussain of the Dr Ziauddin Hospital, Dr Syed Junaid Shah of AO Clinic, Dr Saadia Virk of South City Hospital, Dr Umer Jang of National Medical Centre, Dr Bilal Faiz of Creek General Hospital, Dr Farhan Essa Abdullah of Essa Laboratory, Dr Tahir Yousuf of Tahir Medical Centre, Sindh Healthcare Commission chairman Minhaj Qidwai, SHCC Commissioner Jawad Amin Khan, Dr Ali Imam of Imam Clinic, Ali Farhan of Darul Sehat, Dr Salman Fareedi of Liaquat National Hospital, Zerkais Ankleseria of Ankleseria Hospital, Brig Dr Waqar of Memon Medical Institute, Dr Mazhar Nizam of Patel Hospital, Commodore Kamran Khan, Dr Sadiq Ansari, Rehan Baloch and others.
They asked the CM not to ease the lockdown after April 14 as if it was withdrawn the virus would spread like a jungle fire.
They were of the view that a large population of the city comprised of slum dwellers living in small house with large families and travelling in public buses in crowds.
They said that if such kind of crowding was allowed, people would get infected in buses and on the streets and would take the virus back to their home and get their family members and localities infected.
The CM said that he would consult with his cabinet and other stakeholders on the issue.