Virus will spread but won’t ock down country, PM says
Sindh declares health emergency as virus toll reaches 237
Sindh shopping malls, restaurants, parks will be closed from today for 15 days in bid to contain virus n KP, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan report new cases
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday urged the nation to act responsibly and avoid large gatherings after Pakistan’s coronavirus tally surged to 237.
He warned the public that the coronavirus would spread in Pakistan as countries having better health facilities could not halt its spread.
The premier while addressing the nation said: “The virus will spread [in the country] as the countries with better facilities than us could not stop it.”
Telling the nation not to panic, the prime minister said that the virus was dangerous for old people since it attacked their already-weakened immune system. He paid tribute to the Government of Balochistan and the Pakistan Army for ensuring that pilgrims arriving from Taftan were quarantined. Imran said that the government was following the coronavirus situation closely.
The prime minister spoke about the coronavirus situation around the world, saying that the US, Italy, and England have reacted differently to the virus. However, he said that Pakistan cannot afford the same response as European countries.
“Our economic situation is very fragile,” he said. “If we close down the country, what will happen to the poor? People will die of hunger here,” he said.
to monitor inflation
The prime minister said that an economic committee will determine how the government can cope with the coronavirus situation. Imran said that he feared food prices will once again rise as profiteers and hoarders will once again resume illicit activities.
Nearly all the “industries across the world are collapsing, Pakistan will also have to face severe problems,” he said.
“First it will affect our exporters as our exports had recently increased, our textile industry is running at full capacity,” he said.
“Business will get affected. The economic committee will monitor which areas are being affected and how the government can help them, they will keep a check on inflation,” he said.
He warned hoarders that the government would take stern action against them and that he would use full force to bring them to justice.
He said that the virus was spreading in countries and the government was studying responses of other governments and how they were acting to eliminate the pandemic.
‘Govt alone cannot tackle coronavirus’
Join hands to battle coronavirus as no government, including American and China were able to tackle it alone, it is because of joint efforts that they are surviving, he said.
He urged people to keep away from large gatherings and avoid shaking hands.
Imran advised the nation to not panic and said that every person should not get himself/herself tested based on only mild flu symptoms.
The testing kits should be used for only people who were really suffering from the novel virus, he said.
“Aap ne ghabrana nahi hai [You don’t need to panic],” he said. “It is our belief that life and death are in the hands of Allah.”
He praised the efforts of doctors and nurses and said that the government will help them in their ‘Jihad’ against the coronavirus. PM Imran said that he understood the plight of overseas Pakistanis at this hour, especially the Pakistani students who were stranded in Wuhan.
The prime minister addressed the country’s Ulema and said that it was their responsibility to play a positive role in the crisis.
Earlier, the Sindh government on Tuesday announced a complete lockdown of the province for 15 days starting Wednesday amid a surge in coronavirus cases that have touched 237 across the country, majority of them emanating from the province.
In light of the new directives, shopping malls and restaurants will remain closed; however, grocery stores, fish markets, and pharmacies will remain open. Police contingents will be deployed at all supermarkets of the city.
The provincial government has also decided to shut down the inter-city bus service and government offices from Thursday. Sea View and other public recreational spots will also be closed.
“Only takeaways & deliveries will be allowed. Section 144 also to be imposed at beach & parks. It is clarified that shopping stores & chemists will remain open. Citizens are once again urged to cooperate,” he added. “We want to restrict people to their houses,” the Sindh government spokesperson said, as the province remains the worst-affected by the virus.
Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Law Senator Murtaza Wahab has said that the provincial government has established a relief fund “with seed money of Rs3 billion”. The fund will see contributions by the chief minister, provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants and all PPP lawmakers equivalent to one month’s salary.
237 CASES IN PAKISTAN
The provincial authorities have reported dozens of new cases in Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan, taking the total number of cases to 237 across the country. Sindh authorities confirmed 27 new cases of the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Balochistan government confirmed six new cases in Quetta, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in Balochistan to 16. According to the spokesperson for the Balochistan government Liaquat Ali Shahwani, the affected individuals are under treatment at the Sheikh Zayed Hospital.
In Punjab, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that the number of cases in Punjab has risen to 26. The previous tally for the province was eight. “We are testing all the suspected patients and 736 zaireen quarantined in DG Khan. 1,276 zaireen coming from Taftan will also be quarantined,” he added. Earlier in the day, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid confirmed six new cases in the province.
Addressing a press conference alongside Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Dr Yasmin announced that the cases were reported from Dera Ghazi Khan where some 750 suspects – all pilgrims who had just returned from Iran through Taftan border – were quarantined a day earlier.
While, according to the official data, no deaths due to coronavirus have been recorded as of yet, a suspected virus patient in Lahore died earlier in the day.
According to Punjab Health Department Secretary Kaiser Sharif, the patient was admitted in the isolation ward of Mayo Hospital on Monday night. He had been tested for coronavirus and his results were expected to be received Tuesday afternoon.
When asked, Dr Yasmin, while confirming the man’s death, said that his test results are awaited. She said that this information will be shared with the media when it arrives.