KARACHI                  -                 Sindh Minister for Information, Local Government, Housing & Town Planning, Religious Affairs, Forest & Wildlife Syed Nasir Hussain Shah has said that since the cases of coronavirus were emerging from all over the country, therefore, a unanimous health advisory should be issued for every province, including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

Provincial Minister for Information said that the federal government should take all its decision in consultation with all the other units of the country. “We can fight against the spread of coronavirus more effectively, if we are together,” he said.

He said this while addressing the video conference of all the information ministers presided over by Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday. Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the Sindh government had already issued a number on which anyone including journalist could contact anytime if they felt that they must undergo a test for coronavirus.

The Provincial Minister for Information said that the person or any journalist, after his call, would be contacted automatically by the government functionaries for the test. He said that those associated with the health functionaries including doctors, nurses and paramedics were more vulnerable people got affected by the coronavirus. First of all we had to make sure that they had been provided with all the precautionary tools before checking the people affected by the coronavirus.

Speaking about the drastic measures adopted by the Sindh government to control the spread of coronovrius, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that although it was an extremely difficult decision to ban congregation prayers including the Friday prayers but they had been left with no other choice if the people’s lives were to be saved. Provincial Minister for Information said that this decision was taken only after consulting the clerics of all schools of thoughts. He said that it was imperative in order to maintain social distancing. The Minister said the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri was also onboard while taking this decision. Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that according to the new directives there was no ban on calls for prayers, but only the staff of the mosques of maximum four to five people could offer prayers at mosques. The Minister thanked all the clerics for endorsing this tough decision of the Sindh government.

Similarly, in order to ensure social distancing the complete lockdown timings had also been increased and now all the shops including that of groceries, vegetables, fruits and dairy shops would now be shut down at 05:00pm instead of earlier timings of 08:00pm daily till the situation improved, the Minister added. Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that the people engaged delivering essential services had not been banned since day one of the lock down.

After the announcement made by the Prime Minister about the restoration of goods transport the things would further become clear, he said, Provincial Minister for Information said that the World Health Organization in his recent report had also appreciated the measures adopted by the Sindh government to control the spread of the coronavirus. Syed Nasir Hussin Shah said that the Sindh government was also ensuring that the patients of Thalassemia might not effect during the lockdown. They had also been taken care of by the government, he added. Provincial Minister for Information said that funds as well as a mechanism for providing ration to the needy people had also been devised and with the help of the welfare organizations those in need would be approached quickly by the government.

Besides, Quarantine Centres had also been set up with the help Pakistan Army in various districts of the province, including more than1000-bed hospital at Expo Centre in Karachi, he said. The Minister said that the Quarantine Centres were also being set up in private hospitals and hotels as well.