The Sindh government has decided to tighten restrictions across the province as it continues to battle the third wave of the coronavirus.
The Covid-19 Task Force held a meeting on Friday and made the following decisions:
- Shopping malls and markets to operate from 6am to 6pm.
- The timing restrictions won't apply to pharmacies and bakeries.
- Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants has been banned. Only takeaways are allowed.
- Public and private offices have been instructed to call in 50% of their workforce.
- Shrines to be closed once again.
- Ban to be imposed on weddings and other events.
- Schools will remain closed, while exams will continue as per schedule.
The new restrictions will be imposed from Monday, July 26.
The positivity rate in Sindh is 10.3%, the task force participants were informed. Karachi's situation is worsening by the day. At least 1,002 patients are in critical care.
On July 16, the Sindh Government decided to close schools and ban indoor dining from July 16. Schools for classes one to eight have been closed, while students of class nine and above will only sit for their exams.
Access to picnic points such as Seaview, Hawkesbay, and the Keenjhar Lake has been disallowed. Indoor sports activities and recreational facilities such as cinemas and amusement parks are closed too.
‘Delta wild’ variant
Health experts in Sindh have discovered a new mutation of the coronavirus’ Delta variant – Delta wild or Delta Plus.
On Monday, the province reported six cases of the “Delta wild” variant, the province’s health secretary, Qasim Soomro, confirmed.
According to the World Health Organisation, the Delta Plus/wild variant contains a new mutation in the spike protein of the novel coronavirus. It enters human cells and is called K417N.
Closely linked to the Delta variant, the new mutation has been named “Delta Plus” by the WHO’s naming system for COVID-19 variants. So far, the Delta Plus variant has been reported in relatively low numbers across the world.
How to protect yourself
Vaccines aren’t a perfect defence. Some fully vaccinated people needed hospital treatment and died after catching the variant. This variant’s advantage over the Alpha one is its ability to partially evade the immune system in some people who are already vaccinated.
The guidelines to avoid exposure to the new variant are the same:
- Sanitize hands more often
- Wear a mask
- Avoid public gatherings
- Get vaccinated as soon as possible
- Avoid meeting people with symptoms
- Avoid unnecessary travel