Pakistan to be among countries getting out of deadly virus speedily, says PM


ISLAMABAD (ENNS) Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said since the country’s situation in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak was not as bad as was being expected, Pakistan with the grace of Allah Almighty would soon overcome the challenge and be one of the countries getting out of the deadly virus speedily.
“If we compare Pakistan with other countries, the situation is far better. What we were expecting was that till now hospitals, especially Intensive Care Units (ICUs) should have been filled with the coronavirus patients, besides the shortage of ventilators. But thanks God, the situation is far better,” he said.
The prime minister expressed these views in a televised media briefing here after chairing a meeting on COVID-19.
He was flanked by Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Special Assistant to the PM on Social Safety and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and the PM’s Focal Person on COVID-19 Dr Faisal Sultan.
The prime minister said the government’s effective measures, including the decision of going for lockdown, closure of schools and colleges, restrictions on gatherings after the registration of 26 coronavirus positive cases as well as the cooperation of masses were behind the not so bad situation.
He mentioned his telephonic conversations with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh Sisi, and said the discussions focused on the situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak.
Referring to his conversation with President Hassan Rouhani, the prime minister said Iran, which was badly hit by COVID-19 and had so far lost around 5,500 lives, had decided to ease restrictions and open some industries, including construction and small businesses to check economic difficulties faced by the people, particularly the poor and low income group.
He said Egypt, which also faced economic hardships like Pakistan, was already following the practice of a partial lockdown with restrictions on crowded activities, had also decided to further ease the restrictions for the relief of poor.
The prime minister said Pakistan and Egypt would benefit from each other’s experiences and strategies to overcome the challenges faced by the two countries in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
He said as he was worried for the poor and daily wage earners from very first day of the lockdown, he was proud of his government’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme under which Rs 12,000 per family were being distributed among 12 million poor people across the country.
The prime minister said under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, which was apolitical, transport and merit based, Rs 81 billion had so far been distributed among 6.6 million families during the last three weeks and the remaining out of 12 million people would also get the financial assistance soon.

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