KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said that six more people lost their lives while 45 patients were critically ill and 150 new coronavirus cases had emerged during the last 24 hours.

“This is why the government has extended lockdown by another 14 days which we are going to tighten further just to save our people from the virus.”

While addressing a press conference here at Auditorium of Sindh Assembly building, he was flanked by provincial ministers, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Imtiaz Shaikh, Mukesh Chawla and Advisor Murtaza Wahab.

Giving daily report on coronavirus, the CM said that during last 24 hours 1523 news test were conducted against which 150 new cases detected. The total tests conducted so far came to 16026 while the tally of the positives cases had risen to 1668, he said.

The Chief Minister said that during last 24 hours six more people succumbed to the virus, the death toll till Wednesday morning had reached 41.

Talking about total patients, Syed Murad Ali Shah said that 748 were under home isolation, 58 at Isolation centers and 261 in hospitals. The patient currently under treatment were 1067, he said, added that 560 patients had recovered and on Wednesday 133 more were cured and sent to their homes with a certificate of recovery. “Our patient recovery rate is 33.6 percent,” he said.

He said that out of 122 people of Tabligh-i-Jamaat 110 had recovered and returned to the homes.

He disclosed that some of Tabligh jamaat people were foreigners and their passports were at their Riwind Headquarters. “We have sent them to Raiwind from where they will collect their passports and return to their respective countries,” he said.

He said that 5000 people Tabligh Jamaat had been sent in isolation and “we have decided to conduct their at least 1000 tests daily,” he said and added “we have also increased the number of tests.”

He said that more 150 cases were surfaced when more 1523 tests were conducted. “It means the cases exit there and spread and with extensive testing their number comes up alarmingly, he said. He added “the situation has made me worried and more conscious, that is why I am making strict interventions such as further tightening the lockdown so that people can be saved from infection.”

The Sindh Chief Minister announced ban on pillion riding, however, women have been exempted but children would not be allowed. The Sindh chief minister said that on Tuesday two meetings were held, the first one with Federal Minister Asad Umar and the other one with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In those meetings all the provincial governments agreed that the lockdown would be extended for another 14 days, he said and added he was thankful to them for developing consensus. Speaking about lockdown, he said that construction on site would be allowed when permission would be sought from the district administration under a particular SOP.

The Chief Minister said that restaurants would be allowed to comply home delivery service under a particular SOP. Those who would defy the SOP would be sealed and would not be allowed to operate.

However, in some areas Dhaba type of restaurants would be allowed to operate but nobody would be allowed to dine there. People would be allowed to purchase their food from there and eat it somewhere or at home, he disclosed.

The holy month of Ramzan was also approaching, therefore he had constituted a committee of his cabinet members to talk to Ulemas and their meeting would start from today, the CM Sindh said.

“We in consultation with Ulemas and religious leaders will develop a code of conduct for Jamaat, Tarwih and other prayers in the mosques,” he said and added that the other provinces would follow the course.

“I am thankful to ulemas that they are cooperating and guiding us,” he said and added some of the ulemas have also lost their lives while fighting coronavirus, therefore are mindful of the situation, he said. He assured the ulemas that he would resolve all their issues.

The Chief Minister said that the industrialists were also supporting the government for which he was thankful to them. He assured them that he would resolve their all the issues on priority basis. He further said that an SOP had been issued for factories, particularly those which had exported-related set up.

He said that a factory owner would have to provide a list of his employees to be taken to the factories in buses. On the [factory] bus name of factory would be displayed and the passengers on board would be one third of the total capacity of the bus, he said.

The Chief Minister said that overall his government had released Rs 12 billion in which Rs 3 billion were included the government employees had donated. “Some people are saying that the Sindh government has spent Rs 8 billion on ration which is also wrong,” he said.

He said that his government had released only Rs 1160 million for ration in two equal installments of Rs 580 million and the total amount was yet to be utilized. ‘We have distributed 250,000 ration bags and the process was in progress ,” he said.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that whatever amount had been utilized was placed on website of finance department. “We have the complete addresses and CNIC number of the people whom the ration bags have been handed over,” he said. The Chief Minister once again urged the people to observe lockdown in true letter and spirit. “It is for your safety and the safety of your family and others,” he said.