Virus-plagued Sindh to introduce tough restrictions; vaccine certificate mandatory for hosp visit

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Karachi, Jul 10 (PTI) Pakistan's worst coronavirus-hit province, Sindh, on Saturday announced a slew of disincentives for people who have not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, including a partial ban on visiting the outpatient departments of hospitals.

The other deterrents are unvaccinated people cannot appear for government job interviews, would not be permitted for elective surgeries, and cannot avail public transport.

The measures were announced on a day when Sindh once again reported the most number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

In the last 24 hours, Pakistan has reported 1,828 cases and 35 deaths, taking the COVID-19 caseload and related deaths to 971,304 and 22,555 respectively, the Ministry of National Health Services said on Saturday. Of the new infections, 1,046 cases were reported from Sindh province.

Sindh health department representative Dr Irshad Memon said to visit the out patient department (OPD) at hospitals the people would have to produce vaccination certificates.

He said the vaccination certificates are also mandatory for elective surgeries.

Another spokesman for the provincial government said soon unvaccinated people would not be allowed to use public transport.

'Unvaccinated people will now not be able to get treatment or surgeries at hospitals. They will also not be considered for job interviews,' a spokesperson said.

Officials said the tough restrictions were being implemented as the highly transmissible Delta variant has already surfaced in Pakistan and that it could lead to a rapid uptick in fresh cases and deaths.

Last month, the Sindh government announced that salaries of all government employees would be withheld till they inoculated themselves.

According to official data, Sindh has so far accounted for more than one-third of the coronavirus cases in the country. Only 8 per cent of its population has been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine.

The deterrences in Sindh were announced on top of the restrictions and directives issued by the Federal government for the entire country on Friday.

The Federal government, through the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), has said that unvaccinated people would not be allowed to board flights from August 1.

The NCOC said all adult students must get vaccinated by August 31. PTI CORR IND AKJ IND

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