KARACHI: A strict but partial lockdown came into force in Sindh on Saturday with authorities imposing restrictions on intra-city transport, halting rickshaws and taxis, shutting down markets, shops and most government offices.
The partial lockdown slapped throughout Sindh including Karachi shutting down bazaars and shopping malls and postponing examinations for a week.
The police have erected pickets at almost every other road in Karachi and public transport was not allowed to pass any of the pickets.
Karachi-bound passenger buses were stopped 50 kms away from the city at Kathore.
Dozens of buses and hundreds of passengers are stuck at Kathore. Some of the passengers were walking towards Karachi with the goods on their heads.
Pillion riding on motorcycles has been banned and only two persons can travel in a car.
Earlier, the Sindh government had decided to impose the lockdown until August 8 as the province continued to suffer from the raging coronavirus infections due to the Indian variant’s rapid spread.
As the lockdown went into effect, government offices will remain closed from next week. Those who do not get vaccinated will not get their salary after August 31. Vaccination cards of anyone roaming the streets will be checked.
The export industry, banks, stock exchange and port, however, remained open, but all markets in the province have been shut down with the exception to pharmacies, petrol pumps, groceries, restaurants with deliveries, bakeries and milk shops.
The Sindh government had strictly advised its citizens to stay at home and if they come out on the roads, they must carry their vaccination cards with them. The city administration will check their vaccination cards.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had given Aug 31 deadline to all government employees asking them to get themselves vaccinated by that time. After Aug 31, the unvaccinated government employees will not be able to get their salaries.
It was also decided to keep the Out Patient Departments (OPDs) of all big hospitals closed.
Media workers will be allowed to work wearing facemasks.
The Sindh health department had proposed a two-week lockdown to the task force, while medical experts had proposed a two-week ban on inter-city transport. A proposal was also made to close all educational institutions and educational activities for two weeks.
The National Command and Operation Centre had opposed the idea of a complete lockdown in Karachi and the head of the NCOC, Asad Umar, had said that closing the entire city for weeks is not a cure. The Sindh government, however, had said that it did not care what the Federation said and that the only immediate solution to bring down virus cases was a lockdown.