Coronavirus restrictions will not be eased in Sindh: health minister | SAMAA

Coronavirus restrictions will not be eased in Sindh any time soon, said Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho Thursday.

The business community is protesting but the government needs to keep restrictions imposed to control Covid-19 spread. “We have tried to keep a balance between restrictions and business activities,” said the health minister. “But we cannot open businesses and ease restrictions on public demand.”

Shops throughout the province are open till 6pm. Businesses should open earlier, not at 12pm, so that they have the whole day to do business, said Dr Pechuho.

Covid-19 cases are once again on the rise in Sindh. The positivity ratio in Karachi is 11%, while it has declined to three to four percent across the country, she said.

Hospitals are filling up again because people are not being careful. The situation will not be brought under control if people flout SOPs and refuse to get vaccinated, Dr Pechuho said.

Around 80% of people will need to be vaccinated in the country if the pandemic is to end, according to the provincial health minister.

Workplaces should get their employees vaccinated.

Stop paying heed to misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, she urged.

Dr Pechuo said there were enough Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines for second doses.  “We are keeping a record and contacting those due for a second dose.” She asked political party heads to encourage vaccination.

Government employees will not be given salaries from July onwards if they don’t get the Covid-19 shot, she warned.

Related: Sindh employees must get vaccinated to receive salaries

Talking about virus variants, the health minister said that Sindh had detected four cases of the Delta variant.

They were reported in passengers from Iraq and Doha after rapid antigen testing.

For those returning from the Middle East, we do rapid testing and then a PCR test, said Dr Pechuho. If both these tests are positive, we conduct genetic sequencing of the virus samples.

So far, there have been 75% of cases of the UK, or Alpha, variant and 20% of South Africa, or Beta, one.

The spread of variants has been controlled through contact tracing and isolation of patients. This is why community transmission of the virus variants has not been reported yet, Dr Pechuho said.

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