After successfully containing COVID-19, Pakistan goes for smart lockdown

Political opponents and media groups mocked Prime Minister Imran Khan for not imposing curfew to contain COVID-19. However, he stands vindicated now as all provinces including Sindh agreed to ease restriction and ensure a smart lockdown so that people, particularly daily wagers, find jobs to earn money.

lockdown

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has aptly dealt with the challenge posed by novel Coronavirus outbreak. As the government has successfully contained the spread of virus, the Prime Minister announced to extend the ongoing country-wide lockdown for another two weeks. But he also announced to ease restriction for some segments of society in order to ensure smooth functioning of the economy.

Addressing a joint press conference following the National Coordination Committee (NCC) meeting, PM Imran said that all the public places and educational institutions will remain closed during the lockdown. He urged the people to follow the safety instruction issued by the government to protect themselves from COVID-19.

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The premier said that the government was making all-out efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. On the occasion, PM Imran announced to open the construction sector to help daily wagers and labourers affected by continued lockdown. He maintained that this sector has the lowest risk factor in terms of coronavirus spread and added that there is a consensus between center and the provinces regarding the opening of the construction sector for providing employment to people.

PM Imran said an ordinance will be laid out soon to provide big incentives to the construction sector to generate job opportunities.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that swift decisions taken by the federal government slowed down the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.

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Speaking at a media briefing alongside Prime Minister Imran Khan and other federal ministers, he said a total of 91,432 tests have been conducted across the country so far, of whom 5,716 turned out to be positive with 96 deaths from the deadly disease.

Dr Zafar Mirza said 46 coronavirus patients are in critical condition in various hospitals. Citing predictive modelling for the spread of the virus, he said Pakistan has recorded far lesser cases of coronavirus than projected as they were estimated to reach 18,000 as of April 14.

Analysts believe that Pakistan’s economic condition does not allow the country to prolong a curfew-like lockdown. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been of the view that any attempt to restrict daily wagers to their residences might lead to some serious law and order situation.

“People are running short of food now. There is no work for daily wagers. There is nothing to earn,” said G-M Pitafi, professor of Politics and International Relations at UMT, Lahore. He also feared that street crimes may increase for people won’t have food and they will break both social norms and legal rules to fulfil their basic needs.

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We should, argued the premier, be careful before we decide to take any stern action to combat Coronavirus outbreak. Some media persons slammed PM Imran for not comprehending the situation and letting the virus spread across the country. However, with the passage of time, the premier was able to offer concrete evidence to support his version of partial lockdown.

It is important to note that the Sindh government has now experienced that the province cannot remain shut for two more weeks. Therefore, it has now announced to ease the rules concerning lockdown in the province.

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