Director General WHO recognizes Pakistan’s efforts to contain COVID-19

More importantly, PM Imran Khan has asked WHO to come up with International Standard Guidelines to facilitate travel from developing countries during pandemic. Khan is concerned because UAE and Qatar have unilaterally imposed restrictions on travel from Pakistan and international standards for "Screening" are immediately needed.

WHO recognizes Pakistan’s effort to contain COVID-19

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Monday said that Director-General World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom has hailed Pakistan’s anti-Covid-19 efforts during a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan. In a tweet on Monday, Asad Umar said the WHO recognizes Pakistan’s effort to contain COVID-19.

“Prime Minister asked the WHO to develop travel guidelines to be adopted by all countries to ensure that low income countries are not discriminated against in global travel,” he tweeted.

It is pertinent to mention here that the country recorded 3,344 new cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the past 24 hours, taking the countrywide tally to 231,817 and casualties to 4,762 with addition of 50 more deaths in the past 24 hours.

According to the National Command and Operation Centre, 3,344 new cases were detected when 22,271 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours. 95,407 COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment and 131,649 patients have recuperated from the disease.

Read More: Coronavirus Pakistan: Rapid increase in cases & deaths

94,528 cases have been detected in Sindh so far, 81, 963 in Punjab, 28,116 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10,814  in Balochistan, 13, 494 in Islamabad, 1,342 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 1,561 in Gilgit Baltistan.

WHO recognizes Pakistan’s effort to contain COVID-19

Initially, the World Health Organization (WHO) has termed Pakistan’s measures against COVID-19 outbreak as “timely” and the “best national response”. The Country Head of the WHO Dr. Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, while talking to media in Karachi during his visit to various hospitals and testing labs, said: “At a time when other countries were reporting cases, Pakistan was keeping the virus at bay, which is something quite praiseworthy.”

Later on, the WHO urged the Punjab government to enforce a strict two-week lockdown in the province to contain the spread of coronavirus. In a letter to the provincial government, the WHO strongly recommended that the government should adopt the “two weeks off and two weeks on” strategy as it offers the smallest curve. It also recommended strengthening of all public health measures such as quarantine, isolation, physical distancing and contact tracing.

While talking about Coronavirus in Pakistan Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director-International Monetary Fund (IMF), has praised the government for its “swift move to offer relief response to the people”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan initially opposed to enforcing a curfew-like lockdown in Pakistan. He offered several economic reasons behind his decision. However, provincial governments, experts, and media urged the prime minister to ensure the lose lockdown in order to ensure physical distancing so that the spread of the virus can be stopped.

The Prime Minister then announced Corona Relief Tiger Force and Corona Relief Fund along with a multi-billion package involving relief for labor and underprivileged class, the business community and industries and farmers.

Read More: A Coronavirus guide to fixing Pakistan’s economy

However, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif sheepishly termed Prime Minister Imran Khan ‘incompetent’.  He also alleged that the government is using the “Corona Relief Fund” to advance its political agenda, therefore, a parliamentary monitoring committee must be established for oversight of the funds to ensure their justified usage. The PML-N’s president accused Prime Minister Khan of ‘utter failure’ and held him responsible for the spread of coronavirus in the country. He said that a parliamentary committee is necessary to probe the details of the import of items being procured from abroad.

Read More: Another senior Pakistani doctor loses life to Coronavirus in Peshawar

Analysts believe that the world is praising PM Khan’s effective policy to contain but some segments at home are unable to comprehend the context in which the premier is making such policies. It is believed that Pakistan does not afford a curfew-like lockdown at any point and under any circumstances.

As the WHO recognizes Pakistan’s effort to contain COVID-19, opposition it needs to review its policy of condemnation. The PTI’s government appears to be working in the right direction to combat the deadly virus.

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