KARACHI          -           A batch of 300 pilgrims left Taftan for Jacobabad on Saturday evening, while the second batch would leave on March 10, all of whom would be kept in quarantine at Sukkur.

This was disclosed at 10th the meeting of the Taskforce on Coronavirus held here on Saturday under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Pechuho, Syed Nasir Shah, Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Sindh IGP Mushtaq Maher, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani, Additional IGP Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon, Additional Chief Secretary Home Usman Chachar, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Health Zahid Abbasi, Secretary Works Imran Atta Soomro, PDMA DG Salman Shah, Surveillance DG Dr Ashfaq Memon, Dr Faisal of Aga Khan, Dr Pawan of CAA, Lt Colonel Saad of 5 Corps, Dr Akhtar Aziz of Indus Hospital, Dr Sara of WHO, Colonel Hafeez of Rangers, Abdul Rauf of FIA, while Sukkur Commissioner Shafiq Mahesar and his team joined the meeting via a video link.

Secretary Health Dr Zahid Abbasi told the chief minister that he had sent four samples to the lab for coronavirus test, all of which had been tested negative. “Of the four suspected patients, one was from Karsaz, other from Old Sabzi Mandi, third one from District East and the fourth one also belonged to Karsaz,” he elaborated.

Secretary health further said the first man in the country to have been diagnosed with coronavirus, who had recovered, was discharged from the hospital early Saturday morning, while two other patients were also recovering fast.

The chief minister was told that the Sindh government had conducted 100 tests till Saturday, out of which 97 were tested negative while three were tested positive, while one of them had been cured and discharged from the hospital.

The meeting was told that 282 pilgrims, who had returned from Iran, had been put in quarantine at their homes. “Of these 17 pilgrims would complete their isolation period today (on Saturday), five on March 8, 30 on March 9, 63 on March 10, 25 on March 11, 34 on March 12, 66 on March 13, 11 on March 14 another 11 on March 15, two on March 16, five on March 17 and 12 on March 18 and one on March 19,” the secretary health said, and added, “During their period of isolation, these people are checked off and on by the concerned team of doctors.” The chief minister was told that arrangements had been made for the accommodation of 300 pilgrims, who would leave Taftan for Jacobabad on Saturday at 6 pm, in Sukkur.

The commissioner Sukkur, who joined the meeting via a video link, briefed the chief minister about the facilities available at the place where the incoming pilgrims would be kept in isolation. The chief minister directed the commissioner to make best residential arrangements for them and provide them three-time nutritious food, including tea, whenever they want besides fruits and other refreshments. “I want you to keep them happy and contented,” he said.

The commissioner said that he would receive the pilgrims and provide them all the facilities.

The chief minister also directed the DHO Sukkur and his special team, constituted to check the incoming pilgrims, to take the samples of the suspected patients regularly and send the same to Aga Khan for the lab test.

The commissioner said that he had made accommodation arrangements for 500 pilgrims at Sukkur and arrangement for another 300 would be made within next two days. The chief minister was told that another batch of pilgrims would leave Taftan for Sukkur on March 10, 2020.

PDMA DG Salman Shah told the meeting that he had already sent beds, cushions, bed sheets and necessary utensils to Sukkur for the use of the pilgrims.

The WHO representatives suggested arranging a counsellor for the counselling of the suspected coronavirus patients at Sukkur camp. The chief minister also directed the airport authorities to check the passengers coming from Italy and Korea and share their reports with the health department.

The chief minister said that 1,000 new cases of coronavirus had been reported in Iran, which, he said, was alarming for us also.