Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Coronavirus update: 31 new cases confirmed in Hyderabad

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh health authorities, late on March 30, confirmed new Coronavirus infections in 31 members of a tableegi jamat in Hyderabad, which took the overall tally of the infection in Sindh to 526, with six relevant deaths since February 26 when the first patient of COVID-19 was detected in the province.

According to the earlier reports, about 250 people including foreign nationals were staying in a mosque in Hyderabad, which was later declared a corona quarantine place as one of the foreign nationals tested positive for corona. 

Earlier, about 20 of the people staying in the mosque were shifted to another quarantine centre established in Latifabad. 

According to official data updated at 2245 PST, with the latest detection of positive cases, the total number of corona infected people in Hyderabad reached to 43. Karachi and Jacobabad reported 27 and one new case, respectively, on March 30. 

According to the government data, 265 of the pilgrims from Iran in Sukkur have so far been found infected with the virus. Similarly, seven pilgrims from Iran were found corona positive in Larkana. 

“Of the 294 positive cases reported from Karachi, Dadu, Hyderabad and Jacobabad, 236 acquired the infection locally, while the remaining were believed to having acquired the diseases during their foreign visits,” an official disclosed.

Earlier, during the day the Sindh health minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho confirmed the last of the six corona related deaths in Sindh, a woman of 63. 

She, in a statement, said that the deceased woman was a resident of Karachi, who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 two days back. 

“The patient, who returned from Saudi Arabia about 10 days back, had a history of acute respiratory distress syndrome,” she added, saying the death brought the total number of deaths in Sindh to six. 

Pakistan has so far reported 1,171 corona positive cases. 

According to Health Minister of Punjab Dr Yasmin Rashid, her province had so far tested 14,570 people, out of which 642 (4.40 %) were found corona positive, with 9 deaths. 

She told a TV channel that her province has decided to intensify the testing activity and soon will be able to test samples from 3,000 people for corona infection every day. 

In the meantime, Sindh minister for Anti-Corruption and Industries & Commerce and Cooperative Department, Jam Ikramuallah Dharejo, has said that the Sindh government has not yet decided to impose curfew in the wake of Coronavirus crisis. 

Urging the people to stay at their homes, however, he said that if the people did not follow the lockdown policy, the government will have no other option but to make a compulsory curfew decision.

In his interaction with media persons in his office on March 30, the minister said that no case Corona virus had been reported in Ghotki district till now. 

He further said that the government was going to provide ration to the daily earners soon. 

In a statement, Sindh Minister for Information, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, has said that the government could not control the spread of the Corona virus without the cooperation of the people. 

He said that the government was considering various options to provide ration and cash to people belonging to the working class, especially the daily wagers, and various possible measures were in the final stages of implementation.

“In this regard, the Sindh government is also launching a mobile registration system, through which all needy people would be registered first and then after verification the cash would be transferred to them through mobile cash transfer service,” he added.

Metropolitan University await HEC verdict

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Metropolitan University Karachi (MUK), which was chartered by the Government of Sindh in 2015, awaits the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Islamabad-based Higher Education Commission (HEC), before opening admission at its spacious campus located on University Road near Safoora Chowk.

By the look of things, the management of the MUK has started feeling burdened by the long delay as it has not been able to open admissions despite having invested heavily in the development of the various facilities at their campus during the last five years.

Despite being chartered from the Sindh Provincial Assembly in 2015, they have been deprived of the opportunity to initiate their academic activities even after five years.

The MUK is believed to have built facilities at the campus at an estimated cost of PKR 500 million, on a piece of land whose commercial value is thought to be around PKR two billion.

The university complex appears ready to offer education services to a population of around six million as they still await the issuance of the NOC despite three costly inspections conducted by the HEC Islamabad, the decision of Honorable High Court of Sindh and the clearance of the HEC Sindh.

It has been learnt that the working capital reserved was now reaching to an end due to the administrative cost of around PKR 70 million.

The sponsors, management and staff of the MUK look forward to the HEC to save their dream institution from becoming a possible disaster.

They are still confident that the HEC Islamabad, respecting the law and the provincial government, will issue the NOC to the MUK in the larger interest of education.

Dewan Yousuf suggests Prime Minister to refrain from creating another task force

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Dewan Mohammad Yousuf Farooqui, an eminent industrialist and a former provincial minister, has advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to avail the existing infrastructure instead of creating a task force for ration distribution among the masses.

Talking to PNFS in Karachi on March 30, he didn’t mince words in declaring that considerable resources will be required to build a new task force for the purpose of reaching out people affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Both time as well as funds will be needed for carrying out this task of creating a new infrastructure for such an activity which makes little sense to me. Instead the government should utilize the information which is already in possession of area Deputy Commissioners. NGOs and welfare organizations could also be pressed into service to do the job with the collaboration of DCs,” he suggested. 

Dewan Yousuf expressed confidence in the abilities of DCs and the social workers who could jointly perform the action to fulfill the Prime Minister’s cherished goal of reaching out the people in need. 

“The government should devote its energies and resources in helping out greater number of people in every nook and corner of the country, who are in desperate need of support, instead of thinking in terms of creating a new authority or task force for carrying out this purpose,” he concluded.