KARACHI               -          The 18th meeting of Taskforce on Coronavirus was told here on Sunday that out of 18 more cases of the virus diagnosed in Sindh, 13 were reported from Sukkur’s quarantine center while one from Quetta, taking the total number of cases in the province to 35. Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah presided over the meeting at the CM House.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Pechuho, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Advisor Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, IGP Sindh Mushtaq Maher, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Home Secretary Usman Chachar, Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Health Zahid Abbasi, PDMA DG, representatives of airport services, civil aviation, FIA, 5 Corps, Rangers and other departments. It was revealed that samples of 40 pilgrims, who had arrived at Sukkur quarantine center from Taftan, were tested in Karachi, out of which samples of 13 were tested positive.

The chief minister directed the Sukkur commissioner and Dr Bhatti of Gambat Hospital to segregate those tested positive from those tested negative. “Those who are serious should be shifted to Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences,” the CM issued the directives.

The chief minister was further told that apart from Sukkur, five more cases of coronavirus had been reported. Of these five cases, three were those who came into contact with one of the patients who had come from Saudi Arabia, while another had pneumonia symptoms while the fifth one had arrived here from Quetta with coronavirus symptoms.

The chief minister said that out of 293 suspected patients, who had arrived at Sukkur’s isolation center from Taftan, 250 were still to be tested. He told the meeting that another batch of 661 pilgrims was expected to arrive in Sukkur on Tuesday (tomorrow). “This is a serious situation and we all will have to deal with it accordingly,” he said. The CM, on the occasion, was given details of the patients who had tested positive.

He was informed that eight had travelled to Syria, three to Dubai, three to Iran while two of them had been cured, four had contracted the disease locally, two had a travel history of Saudi Arabia while one patient had come from Balochistan.

The chief minister was told that 203 samples from Sukkur had landed in Karachi while the remaining 93 were on their way. The Sindh government had conducted 339 tests, out of which 318 had been declared as negative while 21 as positive, the CM was informed.

It was further disclosed at the meeting that presently 20 suspected patients were in quarantine at their homes, all of whom would be released by March 19, if found negative. Presenting daily report, secretary health said that 1,874 cases of pneumonia had been reported at public sector hospitals while those reported from private hospitals stood at 702. “The government conducted the tests of those patients who had severe symptoms,” secretary health elaborated.

0The meeting was informed that of 4,631 passengers who had landed at Karachi’s Jinnah Terminal on Saturday, five were suspected coronavirus patients, including one from Italy, one from Birmingham (UK), one from Dubai and two from Jeddah. Murad orders arranging ventilators for JPMC’s isolation ward:

Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, along with his advisor on law, visited a laboratory where coronavirus tests were conducted.  He witnessed the testing procedure and provided the laboratory staff extra kits. He, on the occasion, ordered the provision of necessary equipment to the lab to enhance its capacity. After having done with his visit to the laboratory, the chief minister went to JPMC where he inspected the newly established isolation ward. Executive Director of JPMC briefed the chief minister about the arrangements she had made at the isolation ward. When she complained to him about the shortage of ventilators at the ward, the CM directed the chief secretary on phone to provide the ventilators and also make the ward fully functional.

Later, in a public message, the chief minister said, “If you cough, have a fever, body ache or shortness of breath, immediately make a call to Coronavirus Control Room at 021-99204452, 021-99206565 or 0316-0111712.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, on the occasion, directed the Karachi commissioner to convert the flats of the labour department in the city into isolation centers.

He said similarly the labour department apartments are being converted into isolation centers at Nooriabad, Kotri, Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad.