On Friday, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan said that the country could not afford a nationwide lockdown, despite 501 Pakistanis tested positive for the deadly Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). The inability to implement drastic measures to contain the pandemic has largely to do with Pakistan’s crippling economical condition. Three people had reportedly died.
Pakistan reported its third death from the #coronavirus as total number of confirmed cases crossed 500 yesterday, Pakistani media report.— ANI (@ANI) March 21, 2020
Khan claimed, “Lockdown means curfew-like situation, which will create unrest in the country and we cannot afford that. It would make poor people more vulnerable.” He has pinned his hopes on the masses that they would “self-quarantine” and thus contain COVID-19 that has claimed 3 lives in Pakistan so far.
Imran Khan added, “We cannot compete with other countries of the world who are announcing economic packages.” He assured that the government was working on an economic package. Reportedly, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $238 million and $350 million respectively to Pakistan to contain the outbreak of coronavirus.
It was reported on March 16 that the total cases of coronavirus patients had reached 186. The number has more than doubled in just 4 days. Having effectively gauged the situation on the ground, Imran Khan has urged people to stay indoors and adopt “social distancing”. He warned that a spike in the number of coronavirus victims would put the country’s available medical resources under stress.
Thousands of Pakistanis who returned home from Iran were stuck in filthy, unhygienic quarantine camps with no medical care or sanitation facilities. The story came to light after a series of videos posted by Pakistani citizens who were quarantined at Taftan camp on the border with Iran had gone viral. The pilgrims at a camp could be seen not following guidelines of social distancing at a crowded camp and are relaxing without even comprehending the seriousness of the Coronavirus threat.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had launched a probe against Special Assistant on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, who took part in the SAARC conference on coronavirus instead of Pakistan PM Imran Khan. He is accused of colluding with the deputy director of DRAP Ghazanfar Ali to smuggle 20 million face masks out of Pakistan to foreign countries.