Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again ruled out lockdown in the country saying the ‘situation is not as worse as Italy’.
He instead advises the nation to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus which as already killed four people in the country while the total tally has jumped to 646 cases on Sunday.
However, contrary to his advice, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led Provincial Government in Sindh has announced complete lockdown for 15 days with effect from Sunday midnight.
292number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan's Sindh province
Sindh has been the worst-hit with 292 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“Pakistan currently does not have the capacity to provide the entire nation with food at home if a lockdown is imposed in the country,” said Imran on Sunday afternoon during his address to the nation on television. Imran explained what a lockdown actually mean. “First let me tell you what a lockdown is. It means imposing a curfew and locking people in their houses,” he explained.
Imran said that the situation in Pakistan does not call for a lockdown yet.
“If the condition was similar to that of Italy, I would have imposed a lockdown,” he added.
Imran appealed to the nation to impose self discipline and should not indulge in panic buying, as with collective efforts, they would overcome the threats of Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.
In his second televised address to the nation after the country reported above 600 Coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Imran said: “Pakistan is different from rest of the world. It would create economic woes if we go for lockdown as 25 per cent chunk of its population was living below the poverty line. The issue of panic is more dangerous than Coronavirus. If all go on panic buying, it will result in irreparable damage to society,” he said.
Imran said that about 90 per cent affected persons from the disease had mild symptoms and they recovered quickly. “The pandemic could spread quickly, if the nation did not take precautionary measures,” he warned.
The Prime Minister said that social distancing should be given preferences instead holding marriages or other social gatherings insides homes as it would be an injustice with the old population of the country who were the most vulnerable segment of society, reported APP.
Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah on Sunday imposed a complete lockdown in Sindh for 15 days, restricting movement of people.
He said that all offices will be closed and gatherings banned. People will not be allowed to go on streets. Shah said that law enforcement agencies will be told that if someone is out due to a necessity they should be permitted, adding that if anyone steps out they should carry their CNIC.
Sick people will be allowed to visit the hospitals. One driver and one passenger will be allowed in a car and sssential services including food supplies will continue.
Fourth death in Pakistan
Pakistan has reported 4th death of a coronavirus infected patient on Sunday. This is the third death in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Ajman Wazir, a spokesperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government told media on Sunday that a woman who tested positive for the virus had passed away on later aturday. She had recently returned from Iran. He said that province has 31 confirmed and 179 suspected cases of the COVID-19.
Coronavirus cases across Pakistan has risen to 646 with 292 cases in Sindh; 104 in Balochistan; 152 in Punjab; 55 in Gilgit-Baltistan; 11 in Islamabad; and one in Pakistan Administered Kashmir. The figure was updated at 1pm UAE time.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has also suspended inter-district public transport for seven days with effect from 9am on March 23.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Railways has announced to stop train service on a number of routes as the number of passengers have reduced by more than 30 per cent.
Also, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has requisitioned the Pakistan Army under Article 245 of the Constitution to aid the civil administration in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to reporters in Lahore, Buzdar clarified that rumours of a food shortage in the province were false and urged citizens to adopt precautionary measures as advised by the government.
Balochistan government has already requested for the army deployment to deal with coronavirus situation
Pakistan coronavirus cases on Sunday (March 22) afternoon
Total cases: 646
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 31
Pak Administered Kashmir: 1
Gilgit Baltistan: 55