Coronavirus Outbreak: PM Imran Khan rules out lockdown in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan has ruled out the lockdown option in Pakistan succumbing to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it may trigger further economic hardships for the masses but he urged the nation to adopt social distancing as a precautionary measure against the pandemic.

It’s worth noting that a total of 464 Coronavirus Cases have so far surfaced in Pakistan while three infected patients have died of the virus. Of 464 Cases, 238 have been detected in Sindh, 81 in Balochistan, 96 in Punjab, 23 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 24 in Gilgit-Baltistan & Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and 2 in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Interacting with senior journalists in Islamabad on Friday, the prime minister said that we want people to exercise discipline rather than locking down the whole Cities.

Imran Khan urged the nation to adopt social distancing as a precautionary measure against the threat of Coronavirus pandemic. He said that it is very important that people who show symptoms of Coronavirus must self-quarantine them. He said that the people should also limit their social gatherings for the next one or two months.

The prime minister said that the situation is being monitored and tracked on daily basis to gauge its impacts. He said that experiences of various Countries, especially China, will be utilized to tackle the menace of Coronavirus.

Imran Khan said that the government is fully alert and vibrant to the threat and it has been decided that all federal ministers will be available in Islamabad during the ongoing crisis and there will not be any leave of them. He said that he will update the people about the Coronavirus situation twice a week.

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In addition, he urged the International Community to lift sanctions from Iran as they are dealing with the appalling situation despite having limited resources and medical facilities.

Imran Khan further said that the role of media is very important in the situation as sensationalism could lead to panic that might make the situation worse. He referred to the example of panic in some Western Countries where people are rushing towards grocery stores and emptying the shelves of stuff.

Furthermore, he said that we are going to provide incentives to construction industry to create employment opportunities. He said that work is underway on creating a financial package that will be announced next Tuesday.

The prime minister said that all stakeholders including the State Bank of Pakistan, the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) are involved in the preparation of the package to provide incentives.