Lockdown damaged economy severely, says PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the countrywide lockdown was only a stopgap measure to contain the coronavirus which has so far claimed over 780 lives in Pakistan.

Chairing a meeting of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief ministers via video link to review coronavirus situation, the PM said the coronavirus lockdown damaged the economy severely. He said there was a need to create a balance between the lockdown and saving vulnerable people from starvation.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Affairs Dr Zafar Mirza briefed the meeting on the virus statistics, its spread in the hotspots, rate of testing and availability of medical facilities to cater to the virus patients.

The meeting was also briefed on the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the doctors and paramedics and measures needed to improve health facilities in both the provinces.

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“Lockdown is only a temporary measure to avoid coronavirus not a cure of it,” he said, adding that they had to take decisions keeping in view their ground realities. He said that the shutdown of businesses has caused unbearable losses to the country’s economy.

Terming coronavirus a reality, Imran stressed upon the masses to adopt preventive measures to avoid it. “We had to implement the devised standard operating procedures (SOPs) at all cost,” he said while stressing upon the need to launch an awareness campaign among masses on the preventive measures.

He further directed the provincial authorities to ensure that police treat the masses in a friendly manner during the lockdown.

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