KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday said the coronavirus had claimed 19 more lives in the province during the last 24 hours while 706 new cases were detected during the same period under review.

“19 deaths in a single day are the highest figures since the first death was reported in the province on March 19, raising the tally to 299, which constitute 1.6 percent of the total number of patients,” he said in a statement released from the CM House.

Murad Ali Shah said that more than five deaths are being reported per day for the last two months, on average. “Though the death ratio stands at 1.6 percent, still we have lost 299 human lives within 61 days, which is quite painful,” he regretted. The chief minister said of 135 patients who were in a critical condition presently, 34 were on ventilators. “May they recover fast,” he prayed to The Almighty Allah.

He said while 706 new patients were detected in the province during the past one day, on the other hand 252 patients recovered during the same period, which meant despite discharging 252 patients from the hospitals, 454 more beds were occupied.

“The infection rate could only be controlled when everyone will follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” the CM emphasised.

Out of total 12,906 Covid-19 patients in the province, the CM said, 11,373 or 88 percent were in isolation at their homes, 819 were at isolation centres and 715 or 5.7 percent were at different hospitals.

He added that he was happy to disclose that the number of patients, who had recovered so far, had reached 4,741, which showed 27 percent recovery ratio.

Murad further said so far the government had tested 131,376 samples which led to the detection of 17,947 positive cases.

“The overall percentage of positive cases when seen in the context of the total number of tests conducted stands at 13.7 percent, which is higher than various other countries,” he said.

Talking about Karachi, Murad Ali Shah said out of 706 new cases 558 had been reported from Karachi.

Giving district-wise breakup, the chief minister said 134 were reported from South, 131 from East, 105 from Central, 72 from West, 58 from Malir and 58 in Korangi.

“Karachi, as usual, is on the top in terms of local spread of the pandemic,” he said.

Regarding other Sindh districts, the CM said, “We have 20 new cases in Hyderabad, 16 in Larkana, 12 in Kambar-Shahdadkot, 10 in Jamshoro, six each in Shikarpur and Sukkur, five in Khairpur, four in Jacobabad, three each in Mirpurkhas, and Sanghar, two each in Dadu, Ghotki and Kashmore while one each in Badin, Tando Allah Yar and Naushehroferoze.”

According to the chief minister, three flights from Washington, Muscat and Jeddah brought 792 stranded Pakistanis to Karachi on May 14, 15 and 16 respectively. “They all were tested: as a result of which 60 of them tested positive for the virus while the results of 17 passengers are being awaited,” he informed.

The chief minister urged people to follow the SOPS and avoid stepping out of their homes without any solid reason.