Pakistan PM again rules out lockdown over COVID-19

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ISLAMABAD, Mar 22 (DNA): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that

his government will not declare a lockdown due to the spread of the

novel coronavirus in the country.

Addressing the nation Khan said Pakistan has no capacity to provide food

to 25 percent poor people if a lockdown is announced.

The prime minister addressed the nation over COVID-19 in five days as

Pakistan has confirmed four deaths while a total of confirmed cases are

644.

He was responding to the rising debate of lockdown in the country in the

wake of the spread of coronavirus. “A complete lockdown means a curfew

where we have to call in police and army to ensure that no one comes out

of his/her home. We need to understand that 25 percent Pakistanis are

living below the poverty line. These people cannot afford two proper

meals,” Khan said while responding to calls for a lockdown to control

spread of the epidemic.

“A complete lockdown in Pakistan means that people like rikshaw driver,

daily wages, taxi drivers, corner shop owners will face immense

financial challenges. They will be limited to their homes and won’t be

able to feed their families,” Khan further said while defending his

government’s position.

He said being a 3rd world country Pakistan does not have enough

resources to provide for such daily wages earners, adding that China is

the 2nd richest country of the world and they could afford to provide

for their people.

“The solution for Pakistan is self-isolation. You must observe

self-isolation or if you have flu or cough, practice self-quarantine.

There are 90 percent chances that you will recover. It is our elderly

who need proper care and healthcare assistance,” Khan said.

“If our people will not practice caution and this disease spreads, it

will be a disaster. If people think of this quarantine time as vacation,

arrange gathering; the corona will widely spread. It will be fatal for

all especially our senior citizens,” he said.

Khan said the government has already closed all big malls and postponed

cricket matches and now it is responsibility of the people to practice

social distancing.

The Pakistani prime minister also praised China to fight the

coronavirus.  “The way China came out victorious against this pandemic,

so will we. My team and I are taking all measures to support our economy

and industries. If you fear food shortage, let me assure you there will

be none,” he went on to say.

He urged the people not to be panic in the current situation as panic is

more fatal than corona itself.

“What’s important, is not to panic. If people start hoarding, it will

cause shortage of food. It might lead to grave consequences. My team and

I are on top of this. We are looking into how we overcome these

challenges and maintain public’s ease,” Khan said.

He also urged the media to ensure that there is no panic as “we have to

fight this together. The key is to practice precaution and

self-discipline. The way China has controlled it, we will do the same,”

he maintained.  DNA

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