COVID-19: Spike in cases feared following huge Pakistan Peoples’ Party rally in Karachi

Karachi: A massive rally in Karachi by the ruling Pakistan Peoples’ Party is in complete contrast to the extensive efforts of the Sindh government during last few days to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

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Since start of the current month, the Sindh government has started imposing what it calls “Mini-smart lockdown” in any residential locality of the city, which witnesses sudden surge in the coronavirus cases. Since then lockdown has been imposed in dozens of places in Karachi to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

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The restaurants, marriage halls, educational institutions, shops, pharmacies, and factories have to face penal action since September 30 for violating the government-recommended standard operating procedures (SOPs) against the spread of the coronavirus.

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Till Sunday, nine marriage halls have been sealed while Rs 50,000 fine has been imposed on other wedding venues in Karachi for violating the government’s safety precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.

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Virus spread

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Similarly, 158 restaurants have been sealed in different districts of the city while Rs 7,64,000 fine has been imposed on other eateries for violating the government-imposed SOPs against the spread of the coronavirus. Four educational institutions have been sealed in the city for violating the government’s safety rules against the spread of COVID-19.

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The city’s administration also closed 16 shops, medical stores, and factories for violating the safety rules of the provincial government. The government also imposed a fine of Rs 3,71,000 on these commercial establishments in different areas of the city for disregarding anti-coronavirus SOPs.

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On Sunday, 291 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Sindh out of total 10,819 tests conducted. One more COVID-19 patient died in the province in the last 24 hours as the coronavirus death toll in Sindh increased to 2,520. Out of 291 new coronavirus cases, 219 patients belong to Karachi.

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All these efforts of the Sindh government to prevent further spread of the coronavirus could receive a setback by the rally being brought out by ruling Pakistan Peoples’ Party in Karachi today.

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The rally from Ayesha Manzil in District Central of the city till Empress Market, Saddar in District South is travelling along over nine kilometres-long route.

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The rally at its end point will transform into a large public meeting where the PPP leaders will address the activists and supporters of the party.

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The world over, such large public gatherings are considered as the potential hotspots where coronavirus infection could spread among the participants who get assembled without due social distancing.

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The PPP has been organizing the rally as the ruling party’s response to previous such public rallies taken out in the city by the Opposition Muttahida Quami Movement and Jamaat-e-Islami for securing due rights for people of Karachi.

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Forthcoming elections

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The ruling PPP considers it important to bring out the rally to show its political power in the city in view of the forthcoming local government elections in Sindh.

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Sindh Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, who is also the PPP Karachi chapter president, is responsible for organizing the rally. Ironically, he has been the known face of the Sindh government’s aggressive drive since late February this year against the spread of coronavirus as first such measure was closure of educational institutions.

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Recently, he extensively toured schools and colleges across the province after reopening of the educational institutions to check observance of the SOPs by the students, teaching, and non-teaching staff.

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Ghani, while speaking at a press conference, admitted that due observance of the SOPs had become next to impossible by the participants of such public rallies.

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He said that best efforts would be made that participants of the rally would adhere to the SOPs to the maximum possible extent.

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He appealed to supporters of the PPP and general public in Karachi to follow the SOPs against the spread of coronavirus while participating in the rally.

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He appealed to the prospective participants of the rally of the party to wear face masks on the occasion.

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“We will try that people should not come close to each other, remain at a distance from one another, and are able to participate in the rally to make it successful while following the SOPs,” said Saeed Ghani.

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