IMRAN Khan rules out lockdown, as COVID -19 cases zooming in Pakistan

AS India has emerged the fifth-worst COVID -19 affected nation globally, its neighbouring nation Pakistan is grappling to contain the fast-spreading dreaded virus. While  India has brought down the mortality rate to 50 per cent mainly due to nationwide lockdown at the cost of weakening its economy, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan is not inclined to opt for strict shutdown to stem the spread of coronavirus. “The elitist idea would collapse the economy and further increase poverty in the Islamist nation”, he says as the COVID-19 cases in the country is closer to the 100,000-mark and death toll is over 2,000. A record 4,960 fresh coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 98,943, which confirms the Ministry of National Health Services in Islamabad. With 67 more fatalities due to COVID-19, the death toll jumped to 2,002 in the country. “The positive side, at least 33,465 patients have fully recovered so far”, says the Ministry official. A  total of 37,090 cases have been reported in Punjab, 36,364 in Sindh, 13,001 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 6,221 in Balochistan, 4,979 in Islamabad, 927 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 361 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.  Prime Minister Khan on Saturday called for creating awareness among the masses regarding the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the need for strict observance of the Standard Operating Procedures, The Express Tribune reported. Khan again ruled out the return to a strict lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus, stressing that the elitist idea would cause the economy to collapse and increase poverty. He insisted on a smart lockdown with strict adherence to the Sops. Saiyan Bashir writes in Dawn that ’’ Pakistan is estimated to have faced an economic loss of up to Rs 2.5 trillion because of the Covid-19 pandemic and government figures project that around three million jobs are expected to be lost in the “initial round” of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Those Pakistanis, who have suffered the most from the economic impact of the outbreak on lives and livelihoods, are primarily the country’s daily wage workers and urban slum dwellers. Park, an activity they do on a daily basis because they get tired of staying in their one-bedroom, April 30, 2020, in Islamabad.Arif Masih with his children Musa and Cynthia in the nearby park. Ishrat sits on a swing during the family’s visit to the park. Going to the park not only serves as a respite for the children but also for adults, April 30, 2020, in Islamabad. One of the busiest expressways in Islamabad after over 6-weeks of lockdown, May 3, 2020. Children play in a French colony, an urban slum that primarily houses the Christian community, May 3, 2020, in Islamabad.’’ Meanwhile, Veteran Pakistani journalist and former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi has slammed Imran Khan’s government for instructing hospitals to under-report coronavirus deaths. On his official YouTube channel, Sethi has claimed that only 20 – 25 percent of deaths related to COVID-19 are being reported in Pakistan. (courtesy  to Reuters for the picture)

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