As Sindh Lockdown Comes Into Force, Supplies Of Some Essential Goods Are Affected By Uncertainty
There has been some confusion on the ground in Karachi over the issue of which stores and services will remain open and which ones will have to shut down in the wake of the Sindh government’s announcement of a lockdown to help combat the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. A number of retail/grocery and wholesale outlets which were assured continued functioning under Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s lockdown plan are still facing an uncertain situation. This is resulting in some difficulties for the supply chain of essential goods like flour, sugar and milk.
Some wholesale suppliers are exercising caution in delivering goods to retailers, while in other cases, police themselves may have erroneously asked grocery stores to shut down as part of the lockdown. Transport and infrastructure bottlenecks also seem to be occurring in some cases, as staff for essential facilities like groceries and pharmacies face difficulties in reaching their workplaces due to the enforcement of the lockdown in Karachi.
The Sindh Home Department halted all inter-city and inter-provincial travel, as well as gatherings of any kind – including religious congregations. At least some of the ground-level confusion may also be caused by the conflicting policies of the federal government and the Sindh provincial government. The former had avoided a call for a total lockdown, whereas the Sindh government had begun implementing far more extensive measures in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prices for essential goods like flour may fluctuate due to bottlenecks in the supply chain.