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WHO chief once again praises PM Imran for COVID-19 policy

While identifying Pakistan’s battle with the pandemic, Dr Tedros said the country deployed the infrastructure it built up over the many years for polio to combat COVID-19.

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World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has once again praised Pakistan for successfully suppressing coronavirus cases in the country, appreciating how Pakistan had reinforced the lesson that saving the economy and fighting the virus could go “hand-in-hand.” The chief further acknowledged and reinforced PM Khan’s policy to balance life and livelihood as the country combatted the disease.

After successfully having imposed lockdowns in March, the country saw a steady decline in coronavirus cases since early June. This allowed Pakistan to reopen nearly all sectors of the economy just last month. Restaurants, Gyms, Salons, wedding halls as well and universities and schools were finally permitted to open in September.

The WHO chief, in an op-ed on Tuesday, discussed in detail the international efforts towards fighting the pandemic, remarking that “there are glimmers of hope that encourage us now and in the near future”.

While identifying Pakistan’s battle with the pandemic, Dr Tedros said the country deployed the infrastructure it built up over the many years for polio to combat COVID-19.

Read more: UNGA President-elect Bozkir: Pakistan’s COVID-19 response good example for world

Echoing PM Imran Khan’s policy of balancing life and livelihood, the WHO chief said, “the choice is not between controlling the virus or saving the economy; the two go hand-in-hand”.

“Pakistan deployed the infrastructure built up over many years for polio to combat Covid-19. Community health workers who have been trained to go door-to-door vaccinating children against polio have been redeployed and utilized for surveillance, contact tracing and care,” Ghebreyesus said in an op-ed in The Independent. “This has suppressed the virus so that, as the country stabilizes, the economy is also now picking up once again. Reinforcing the lesson that the choice is not between controlling the virus or saving the economy; the two go hand-in-hand.”

Per Arab News, as of Wednesday, Pakistan has registered 312,263 infections, 6,479 deaths and 296,881 recoveries. “Though testing has been relatively low, the recorded drop in infections is supported by the decreasing proportion of tests that come back positive, as well as dwindling hospital admissions”, claims the publication.

Read more: The greatest mystery of our times: How did Pakistan contain the coronavirus?

Epidemiologists have said the principal reason for the decline is Pakistan’s young population. “The average age in Pakistan is 22 years, compared to about 41 in the UK. The vast majority of deaths globally from the coronavirus have been of elderly patients”, claims Arab News.

Dr Tedros further noted how the strategy, as adopted by PM Khan, has worked well for Pakistan in suppressing the virus. He also recognised that the Pakistani economy is also picking up once more.

“Pakistan’s coronavirus cases have reached 312,263 with 747 new cases in the last 24 hours while the death toll is at 6,497” comments the National Command and Operations Centre, which is responsible for overseeing the country’s coronavirus policy.

According to The News International, PM Imran’s advisor, Senator Faisal Javed responded to the remarks by claiming that “this is the endorsement of the prime minister’s vision who has always talked about the common people”.

“This is what PM Imran Khan has been saying from day one. Along with tackling Coronavirus we need to get the economy running, control the Hunger, ensure relief to weaker segments of society, especially, labour, daily-wager class and common people remain top priority.”

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