KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, keeping in view upcoming Eidul Azha, allowed on Wednesday setting up of cattle markets at approved/designated locations under strict SOPs to be issued by the home department.

He took this decision while presiding over a meeting here at CM House. The meeting was attended by Minister Health Dr Azar Fazal Pechuho, Minister Labour Saeed Ghani, Minister Local Government Nasir Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, ACS Home Usman Chachar, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shahalwani, Adl IG Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon, Secretary Health Kazim Jatoi, Dr Bari, Dr Faisal and other concerned.

The chief minister was told that cattle markets had been allowed in other provinces of the country, therefore, the organisers were approaching the Sindh government for grant of permission to set up markets for sacrificial animals. At this, the chief minister said as a matter of fact he was against granting the permission to cattle markets because of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since, a religious aspect is attached with the cattle markets, therefore I am allowing this but under strict SOPs to be issued by home department,” he said and added, “Children will not be allowed to visit markets.”

He directed health department to send its mobile teams to conduct COVID-19 tests of the cattle traders, organisers and the buyers. Mr Shah directed the chief secretary to inform all the divisional commissioners to designate specific areas, preferably out of cities/towns, for establishment of the markets in their areas so that spread of COVID-19 could be avoided.

The CM also issued directives to all the deputy commissioners and SSPs not to allow traders to sell their cattle in streets on the roads. “This will be dangerous and attract crowds of people, therefore, this cannot be allowed,” he said.

He also directed Minister for Local Government Syed Nasir Shah to designate union council-wise areas for sacrificing animals. “In such a serious situation of COVID-19, we can’t allow slaughtering of animals in each and every street but there must be an appropriate mechanism and designated areas for the purpose,” he said.

Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho told the chief minister that the coronavirus impact was on the decline but this didn’t mean that the pandemic was over. At this the chief minister directed the health department to intensify testing in hot spot areas. “At least one person from each house must be tested in the areas where selective lockdown is imposed. The chief minister was told that the tests in rural areas had been enhanced that is why detection rate had increased. Mr Shah, through the chief secretary, directed the PDMA to start SMS service advising people of the province to test themselves, if they feel any of the coronavirus symptoms.