KARACHI – Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah while presiding over a meeting of Provincial Task Force on Coronavirus at CM House endorsed the decision taken by National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in respect of relaxation in certain specific Non-pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) notified on May 15, 2021. “We will review the decision keeping in view the impact of COVID-19 in the post Eid scenario on Thursday and may take strict decisions if the standard operational procedures (SOPs) are followed or a spike in the cases is reported,” the CM said.
The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, Dr Azra Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, IG Police Mushtaq Maher, ACS Home Usman Chachar, Commissioner Karachi Naveed Shaikh, Addl IG Karachi Imran Minhas, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary School Education Ahmed Bux Narejo, Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi, Dr Bari, Dr Faisal, Dr Sajjad Qaiser, representatives of Corps 5, Rangers and WHO.
At the outset of the meeting, the task force endorsed relaxation in certain specific NPIs announced by the NCOC on May 15, 2021; however, it was decided that the forum would again review its decision next Thursday by evaluating the impact of the virus in the post Eid scenario. “If the SOPs are not followed in true letter and spirit, the government would take strict action and may withdraw the relaxation given to the NPIs,” the chief minister warned.
Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi while briefing the meeting said that during the last one week, May 10 to 16, 2021, Karachi East had shown 26 percent COVID cases, South 17 percent, Central 14 percent, Sukkur 12 percent, Hyderabad and Karachi-Malir 11 percent each, Korangi 10 percent, Dadu nine percent, Karachi-West eight percent, Thatta seven percent, Badin, Ghotki, Naushehroferoze and Shaheed Benazirabad five percent each.
Secretary health disclosed that during the 30 days, 142 deaths stemming from COVID-19 had been reported, of them 87 percent or 123 patients died in hospitals on ventilators and 13 percent or 19 patients died at home. At this the chief minister said that it was not a good situation. “We have to save our valuable lives by taking necessary measures,” he said and added it would be possible when people would follow SOPs and get themselves vaccinated.
Critical care beds
The meeting was told that there were 664 ICU beds with ventilators in Sindh, of them 58 had been occupied. Out of 1,814 HDU beds, 460 had been occupied. Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi told the meeting that on May 5, there were 54 patients on ventilators in Karachi, on May 11 and 12 the number of patients on Vent increased to 59 and then it went on dropping down to 55 on May 13 and 14 but again on May 16 the number increased to 55. He added that in Hyderabad, the number of patients on ventilators had not gone up to three patients during said week, May 5 to 16, 2021.
Abbasi Shaheed Hospital COVID unit
The chief minister was told that Abbasi Shaheed Hospital COVID unit had been closed due to some financial liabilities. The chief minister directed Minister Local Government Nasir Shah to get it functional within two days and conduct an inquiry against the liabilities and report him. “Abbasi Shaheed Hospital is an important facility and it must operate at its full capacity round the clock,” he said.
The meeting was told that the provincial government had received 932,000 doses of Sinopharm, 11,000 Casino, 280,000 SinoVac and 10,7500 AstraZeneca. It was disclosed that so far 616,850 vaccines had been utilised for the first dose and 213,798 in the second dose.
During Eid holidays, May 13 to 16, some 13,634 vaccines were administered at Expo Centre Karachi and 59,886 in the rest of centres of the province. At this, the chief minister directed the health department to start a mobile vaccination drive for senior citizens who were handicapped, or bed ridden.
The meeting was told that the daily oxygen demand for COVID patients had been recorded at 35,089 m3. The participants of the meeting observed that necessary measures may be taken to procure more oxygen.
Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah presiding over another meeting regarding production of oxygen said that his team in collaboration with Jamshoro Power Company Ltd (JPCL) explored the option of production of oxygen through electrolysis process. “Initially the oxygen produced as byproduct through electrolysis was wasted and now, we have developed a concept to utilise it,” he said.
The CEO of JPCL told the chief minister that initially 92 percent purified oxygen was produced and now the purity percentage has been enhanced to 97.7 percent. The PCSIR has tested the oxygen being produced by JPCL and declared it fit for medical usage.
The chief minister said that the concept of oxygen production could be replicated in the Thermal Power Sector throughout the country, where electrolysis was being used as a cooling process.