Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the parliamentarians via video link on Wednesday. Image Credit:

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday for the first time hinted on imposing curfew in the country of the situation arising out of coronavirus spread further deteriorates.

Address the parliamentarians via video link, Imran said the government would again review the situation on Thursday and ‘if a curfew needs to be imposed in the country in the coming days, the government should be prepared for it.’

Reiterating that the biggest challenge during a lockdown would be to ensure the well-being of daily wagers and those living below the poverty line, Imran said the federal government will ‘reassess and discuss and come up with solutions’”.

Lockdown in provinces

The lockdown in Pakistan initially started with shutting schools and gatherings but KP and Balochistan have taken it a step further and banned public transport as well. Sindh province is under complete lockdown for the last three days.

Imran said earlier that the lockdown will impact the economy and increase poverty in the country, and said the decision of lockdown will need to be continuously reassessed.

Tailor-made response

“In the federal government, we were of the view that we need to tailor our response according to the number of cases. Sindh reacted further. Due to the pressure by the media and the people, the provinces of Balochistan, K-P and Punjab also initiated incremental lockdown,” said the prime minister.

Imran said imposing a national lockdown would be detrimental for the country’s economy, adding that it was not possible to “rationally judge the repercussions of decisions taken out of fear and panic”.

Prime Minister Imran also requested the national leaders to unite in the nationwide campaign to combat the coronavirus. He noted that not a single case of coronavirus was ‘imported’ from China.

CVODI-19 cases cross 1000

Meanwhile, most parts of Pakistan remained under partial lockdown with only Sindh imposing a complete lockdown. The number of cases also rose to 1016 on Wednesday since the first case was reported about a month ago.

The national dashboard on COVID-19 cases reported new cases in Balochistan, Sindh, Islamabad and Gilgit Baltistan. Sindh remains the worst affected province by the coronavirus in the country so far, with a total of 413 coronavirus cases followed by Punjab 310, Balochistan 113, Kyber Pakhtunkhwa 80, Islamabad 80, Gilgit-Baltistan 81 and Pakistan Administered Kashmir 1. At least 21 people have recovered so far.

Islamabad lockdown

The administration of the federal capital on Wednesday imposed strict measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid a rise in the number of positive cases from the city.

There shall be a complete ban on intra-city, inter-district, and inter-province movement of people by public transport, the order released by the district authority outlined.

Pakistan Army has been deployed in all the four provinces, Pakistan Administerd Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to help the civil administration as the number of patients of the virus continues to rise at an exponential rate across the country.

Domestic flights

Pakistan suspended domestic flight operations across the country with effect from 6pm on March 26 in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. The decision to halt domestic flight operations came three days after suspension of international flights to the country for 15 days.

Pakistan has closed its borders with Iran and Afghanistan. A lockdown has been imposed in Sindh to contain the spread of the virus. Other provinces and federal territories have also imposed partial lockdowns.