Business Standard

Coronavirus surges in Pak, Imran remains defiant to announce lockdown


ANI Asia
With a tag of 'maximum-spreader,' Pakistan is reeling under an alarming situation due to a consistent surge in the active COVID-19 infection in the South Asian region. But Imran Khan is still not in favour of a complete lockdown in the country, fearing that the stringent measures would further challenge the economic meltdown which has been stagnating since the prime minister took over reins in August 2018.
Khan has been talking about devising an economic package to deal with the coronavirus situation. He also added that the government is closely monitoring the matter and it will not hide facts from the public.
But shouldn't the government only focus on combating the global pandemic for the time being instead of focusing on saving the already-sluggish economy, especially at a time when the most developed countries across the world are closing their borders and halting services, ensuring a stringent lockdown to stain the spread of the killer bug?
The virus which is believed to have originated in central China, the all-weather friend of Pakistan, has infected at least 1600 people in the Islamic country, the maximum reported COVID-19 cases in South Asia.
As many as 17 people have succumbed to the contagious infection in Pakistan so far, including the death of a health department employee in Gilgit-Baltistan today. Twelve new cases in GB have come up, taking the total tally in the region to 128, according to Bol News.
Mubasher Lucman, a Pakistani film director-turned-journalist and former caretaker provincial minister in Punjab, in the view that the corona situation in Pakistan is "highly alarming."
Faisal Edhi of Edhi Foundation, a Karachi-based non-profit organisation, further stated that his Foundation is burying a minimum of six to seven corona deceased daily in Punjab itself. Edhi added that the Foundation's cold storages have been being closed to hide the number of dead bodies.
On the other hand, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is also hiding facts. Mubasher said that all doctors in government hospitals have been stopped from speaking on the issue. He quoted the doctors as saying that casualties are "on the high side. Hospitals are getting choked. There is a shortage of equipment and kits and worse doctors are not trained in using these kits and equipment."
It shows that people, themselves, are complaining against the so-called measures taken by Khan's government in response to combat the pandemic. Six cases have been reported in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region whose residents are upset with the establishment for setting up quarantine facilities in the area to treat those infected by the virus from across the country.
But such 'rumours related to coronavirus' simply fall on the deaf ears of the prime minister, who instead of taking the call seriously, urge the media to report cases with more 'responsibility.'
"Media and private TV channels should stop creating panic among the people," the media quoted Khan as saying during a news conference.
According to Pakistani media reports, Khan is continuously pressurising the finance ministry to devise strategies in order to save the country from the economic fallout.
He said the economic indicators of the country were showing progress before the eruption of coronavirus. The prime minister is more tensed regarding the fact that the global economy is slowing down due to the global pandemic, and Pakistani exports are also likely to be impacted. It could also reduce the foreign remittances received by the country, besides plummeting the job creation opportunities, the local media stated.
The 'fake concern' of the Pakistani establishment further comes in light following reports that tons of medical aid from China were sent to Pakistan, at a time when various countries are rejecting those test kits following claims showing inaccurate results.
In view of the above factors, it has become a necessity for Pakistan to take immediate action to curb the COVID-19 spread.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Mar 30 2020 | 2:18 PM IST

Explore News