A Sindh government spokesperson, in an exclusive conversation with The Current, has rubbished reports claiming that Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah’s brother-in-law has contracted coronavirus as the pandemic spreads across Karachi.
With nine new cases in Sindh, the total number of cases of the new coronavirus — COVID-19 — in Pakistan on Monday rose to 16, out of which two patients are undergoing treatment in Islamabad while one female patient is undergoing treatment at a health facility in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The development was followed by a private media outlet’s report that one of the persons who had tested positive for coronavirus in Karachi had reached the port city from Syria via Doha on Sunday, and was the brother-in-law of Sindh CM.
“Asif Hyder Shah is a federal secretary and is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Karachi after testing positive for COVID-19,” the report had claimed.
The claim, however, was rejected by a spokesperson of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in Sindh. “Asif Hyder Shah is a federal secretary and brother-in-law of Murad Ali Shah, but he hasn’t tested positive for the virus,” the spokesperson told The Current.
While it was confirmed that seven persons who reached Karachi from Syria via Doha had tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two days, CM Murad’s brother-in-law wasn’t among them.
Meanwhile, strict measures have been taken by the government, including extending border closure with Afghanistan for seven more days and installing screening machines at all major airports in the country.
According to reports, the Sindh government is considering a proposal to issue an advisory requesting a ban on public events, including the Pakistan Super League (PSL), and it is likely that the remaining matches of the PSL to be held in Karachi will be shifted to Lahore.
A meeting of the provincial authorities has also recommended setting up a health desk at the Karachi airport.
With the help of the desk, all those entering Karachi through the airport will be screened for the coronavirus. A spokesperson for the health department said health desks will also be established at hospitals, Geo reported.
The desks at hospitals, named front-line desks, will provide up-to-date information about the spread of the virus in the city.
A recommendation to shut schools in the province for a longer period will also be sent to the Sindh CM; exams would, however, be held as per schedule, the Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah has said.