ISLAMABAD: The federal government’s strategy to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country is “incomprehensible”, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah said on Wednesday.
The chief minister, addressing a press conference in the capital, said the coronavirus situation in the country was getting more serious by the day, as he called on the government to change its strategy.
The chief minister said inter-provincial transport should be banned for at least two weeks, just as Sindh had banned inter-provincial transport earlier.
The chief minister said in the National Coordination Committee meeting held a few days earlier, he had recommended putting a stop to the intercity transport.
CM Shah said incoming flights from across the world should be stopped. “I had heard that flights were restricted to 20%, but when I left Karachi for Islamabad, the plane was full of passengers.”
The chief minister said the spread of coronavirus can not be halted through press statements.
“A federal minister asked people to go shop as in the last 10 days of Ramadan, the shops would be closed,” he said, taking a jibe at Asad Umar, who had indicated the government would be ramping up restrictions in the coming days.
The chief minister said the country faces a major setback as the federal government was unable to procure coronavirus vaccines on time. “We are far behind other third-world countries in terms of vaccination,” he said.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan says there is no need to panic, but I have been scared for a long time,” the chief minister lamented.
He questioned what message people will get when the prime minister “urges people to wear a mask one day and then the next day goes to inaugurate various projects”.
Shah said if Pakistan does not take steps to urgently curtail the virus’s spread, the situation in the country could escalate fast and turn into one like India.
Responding to criticism by Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry regarding the situation taking a turn for the worse in Sindh, the chief minister said “he used to sight the moon and is now developing metres”.
It appears to be a reference to electronic voter machines, an ordinance for which was recently passed by the cabinet, news of which was shared by Chaudhry.
“Inventing a metre won’t stop coronavirus,” he said.
Pakistan reports over 4,000 new infections
With no signs of the coronavirus pandemic letting up anytime soon, Pakistan reported 4,113 new coronavirus infections today, raising the total case tally to 841,636 across the country.
According to the official data provided by National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the positivity ratio in Pakistan stands at 9.17% as of today whereas the number of active cases is reported at 84,480.
With 119 new fatalities, the country’s death toll stands at 18,590. Most deaths in the country were reported in Punjab followed by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In addition, nationwide recoveries were recorded at 738,727.
Punjab remains the worst-hit province by the pandemic both in terms of cases reported as well as deaths followed by Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.
So far, 310,616 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Punjab, 287,643 in Sindh, 121,099 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 22,776, in Balochistan, 76,696 in Islamabad, 17,397 in Azad Kashmir, and 5,341 in Gilgit-Baltistan.