Published On: Fri, May 22nd, 2020
Published in Category: Karachi

Eidul Fitr should be celebrated with simplicity: Murad Ali Shah

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday urged people to celebrate the upcoming Eidul Fitr in a “simple way” as the number of Covid-19 cases in the province neared 20,000.

Speaking at a press conference in Karachi, Shah asked people not to travel to their villages for Eid so the spread of the virus could be contained. He said that the spread of Covid-19 in cities has already overburdened the health system of the country. If the virus spread in villages, where health resources were scarce and access to facilities was difficult, it would be tough for the government to cope with the crisis.

He further asked people not to go shopping for new clothes, saying that he would also not wear new clothes on Eid.

“It’s alright if you don’t wear new clothes. I was surprised to hear comments like ‘you may not want to wear new clothes, others might’ […] How would it look if I get new clothes while a daily wage worker who was affected cannot afford it?” he questioned.

Shah said that he was dedicating this Eidul Fitr to frontline workers, “all the doctors, paramedics, nurses, ward boys, police and other security officials” who were working to combat the virus, adding that people could give healthcare workers a “gift on Eid” by staying home.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should also make a national announcement calling for people to celebrate Eid with simplicity. “I have said from the first day that there should be a national narrative.”

The chief minister also announced that a proposal to provide compensation packages to families of doctors, who passed away from the virus, would be tabled before his cabinet.

He said that the provincial government already gives packages to policemen who lay down their lives in the line of duty. A similar package would be approved for doctors as well. “The package will be for doctors working in government as well as private hospitals,” he added.

Seven doctors in Sindh have succumbed to the novel coronavirus so far, Shah said. While paying tribute to the late doctors, he said that until now, 364 healthcare professionals have been infected by the virus.

The chief minister further said that 274 policemen were infected, out of which 50 have recovered. Five officials have passed away, he said.

Shah said that malls and markets had also been allowed to open and people had started coming out of their homes. “The effect of easing this lockdown will be seen in 14 days,” he said, while adding that the Sindh government was continuously working to increase healthcare facilities.

He lauded the role of the province’s people in helping contain the spread of the virus. “I can safely claim this, whether people believe it or not, I can say that the people of Sindh have shown the rest of Pakistan the way forward [and how to contain this pandemic].

“The Sindh government was not late [in responding to the virus]. Some people say we were late while others say we took early steps by enforcing lockdown,” he said.

Shah added that densely populated cities all over the world had been devastated by the coronavirus, adding that whatever measures the provincial government took, therefore, were concentrated in big cities. “Some people have tried to colour those measures as being driven by an ethnic or linguistic bias,” he claimed.

“Our intentions were clear. Our decisions were well-intentioned and to a large extent, were correct. Was there an environment where people were dying of hunger? Nothing like that happened,” Shah defended.

Addressing allegations of inaccurate test results, he said that the chances of a “false positive are more than a false negative”.

He added that it was possible that a person who tested positive one day, might get negative results 24 hours later. “Do I want to [falsely] declare someone a corona patient? Does Dow want to do that?” he questioned.

Murad Ali Shah said that within the past 24 hours, 960 new cases were reported in Sindh, while 20 people lost their lives. The CM Sindh said that 779 new cases have emerged in Karachi, while the provincial death toll reached 336. He said that 680 people recovered so far in the province and the total number of people who have made a recovery stood at 6,325. Shah said that 143 patients are in a critical state while 33 are on ventilators. He reported that 20 Rangers’ personnel were also infected while five policemen died of the coronavirus. 274 policemen have been infected with the virus so far, he said. The CM Sindh said that 364 doctors and medical staff workers have been confirmed with the virus while seven doctors lost their lives to it.