PSL matches in Karachi to be held in empty stadium from today

In this undated file photo, Pakistan Cricket Board staff are seen preparing the pitchh at the National Stadium in Karachi ahead of Pakistan Super League 2019. (AN photo)
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Updated 13 March 2020

PSL matches in Karachi to be held in empty stadium from today

  • 15 out of Pakistan's 20 coronavirus cases are reported in Sindh, 14 of them in Karachi alone
  • PCB says it will refund PSL tickets for the last four matches at the National Stadium

KARACHI: Authorities in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province announced to hold the remaining matches of Pakistan Super League (PSL) in a closed cricket stadium in Karachi, the seaside metropolis where 14 out of 20 confirmed coronavirus cases have so far been reported.
“All the PSL matches in the National Stadium, except for Thursday (today), will be played without spectators,” a Sindh government’s handout quoted Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah as saying.
“It is risky to allow the spectators to gather in the stadium to witness the matches, and we cannot put everyone at risk. Therefore, the matches will be held without spectators.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board also confirmed the decision and said it would be enforced from Friday, March 13.
For the match played on Thursday, the PCB and the Sindh government have strongly advised the spectators to continue to take all necessary precautionary measures.
The decision will not impact accredited commercial partners, media and other service providers, who will be allowed to enter the National Stadium, the PCB clarified, adding: “In addition, immediate families of the competing players and player support personnel as well as franchise owners will be allowed to attend the matches.”
In the meantime, the PCB has advised all players to avoid shaking hands and urged the fans not to approach the players for autographs, photographs and selfies.
In addition to this, the PCB has decided that the two teams would not be required to shake hands with each other, and they could use a fist bump or verbal greeting instead.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “Health and safety is paramount and takes precedence over cricket. The PCB takes the health and safety of its players, spectators, officials, media, service providers and security personnel very seriously.
“Following the advisory from the government of Sindh this evening, the PCB has taken this precautionary and preemptive measure which will result in matches taking place in an empty stadium.
“We empathize with the Karachi fans who have been outstanding with their support in the earlier matches and during the hosting of eight HBLPSL matches last year. Once we received the advisory from the government of Sindh, it was important for us to act quickly to ensure that the well being of all concerned is better protected.
“With regards to the remaining fixtures in Lahore, we are already in contact with the Punjab government and will take on board its advisory in relation to the Lahore matches.
“With regard to the refunding of tickets, this will be in line with the ticketing policy and will be refunded through TCS and www.yayvo.com. Details in this regard will be shared in due course,” he added.


Charities backed by Pakistan-US doctors deliver free oxygen as COVID-19 cases surge 

Updated 03 July 2020

Charities backed by Pakistan-US doctors deliver free oxygen as COVID-19 cases surge 

  • The growing demand of oxygen cylinders has either outstripped supplies, and escalated prices to at least three to four times the usual
  • HANDS and AlKhidmat have joined hands with Association of Physicians of Pakistan Descent of North America to deliver free oxygen to people’s homes

ISLAMABAD: Two non-governmental organizations backed by Pakistani-American doctors are delivering free oxygen essentials to Pakistanis’ homes as the number of confirmed coronaviruses cases crossed 220,000 this week, charity officials and doctors have said. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned last month that the world faced a shortage of oxygen concentrators as the number of worldwide cases of coronavirus infection exceeded the 10 million mark.

Family member of COVID-19 patient receiving an oxygen cyclinder from HANDS NGO in Islamabad on June 27 2020. (AN Photo)

At the current rate of about one million new virus cases a week, the world needs 620,000 cubic meters of oxygen a day — the equivalent of 88,000 large cylinders, the WHO said. The growing demand of oxygen cylinders has either outstripped supplies, or escalated prices to at least three to four times the usual.
In Pakistan, too, patients have struggled to find oxygen essentials like pulse oximeters and oxygen concentrators, devices that produce medical oxygen by extracting and purifying it from the air. 
Two NGOs, HANDS and AlKhidmat, have joined hands with the Association of Physicians of Pakistan Descent of North America (APPNA) to deliver free oxygen to people’s homes in the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Lahore and Karachi.

NGO worker carrying oxygen cyclinder to deliver to a COVID-19 patient in Islamabad on June  27 2020. (AN Photo)


Dr. Aisha Zafar, chair of APPNA’s social welfare and disaster relief committee, told Arab News the organization had spent $475,000 on providing personal protective equipment to Pakistanis and had now moved on to delivering oxygen cylinders and concentrators to people’s homes as hospitals had reached capacity. 

“There are not enough beds in the hospitals,” Zafar said, “Anyone who goes to hospital, their first biggest need is the oxygen cylinder — and that’s why this thing [home delivery of oxygen cylinders] came up ... [because] patients can be managed at home.”

Zafar said APPNA had collected $1.1 million in private donations in the US, Canada and Pakistan.

With the backing of APPNA funds, HANDS has been supplying oxygen cylinders and concentrators to critical patients and providing them online doctors’ services as well, the chairman of the charity said. 

“We have been providing oxygen to people at their doorsteps with all accessories,” HANDS chairman Faisal Jamil told Arab News as he left his office to transport a gas cylinder to a critical patient on the outskirts of Islamabad.

AlKhidmat Foundation is doing similar work, delivering supplemental oxygen to patients for free and also conducting COVID-19 tests. 

“Just in Lahore, we have 200 oxygen cylinders available for critical COVID-19 patients for free. Once a patient recovers, we withdraw the cylinder, refill it and provide it to another needy patient,” Shoaib Hashmi, the media coordinator for AlKhidmat, said. 

Among those recently in need of oxygen was retired government servant Naeem Khan who tried, and failed, for a whole week to arrange oxygen for his wife and daughter whose blood oxygen levels had dropped significantly after contracting COVID-19.

“These things aren’t available anywhere in the public or private sector. Oxygen, which is a basic need, isn’t available in the market,” said Khan who was finally delivered an oxygen concentrator to his home by HANDS. “The agency was so responsive and quick to provide the oxygen concentrator that I can’t explain it in words.”