face masks
Muhammad Ali, Deputy Commissioner in Faisalabad, distributing face masks among the people as part of the coronavirus awareness campaign. Image Credit: APP

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that continuing economic activities with smart lockdown is the best way to fight coronavirus.

“The world has discovered the smart lockdown as the only strategy to contain the contagion besides continuing the economic activity with certain standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place,” Imran emphasises in his tweet. He said that sweeping lockdown would only lead to economic disaster.

Pioneer of smart lockdown

Prime Minister Imran said that Pakistan is among the pioneers of smart lockdown approach. In a series of tweets, Imran observed that a complete lockdown meant collapse of the economy and in poorer countries a steep rise in poverty, crushing the poor as happened in many countries. Smart lockdown ensures action in the areas which are most affected with COVID-19. In his tweets, Imran explained the dilemma his country is facing in fighting coronavirus pandemic.

Imran also tagged a video clip from a private TV programme in which the interviewees were expressing their carelessness about the pandemic. “This video shows the dilemma confronting our govt today: On the one hand we have the masses who are not taking the COVID19 pandemic seriously & on the other hand, understandably, we have our front line doctors & health professionals, who are at great risk, & some of our elite wanting a lockdown — the elite who have the privilege of spacious homes & income unaffected by fallout of lockdown,” he tweeted.

“Only solution as world has discovered is smart lockdown which allows for economic activity with SOPs. We are among pioneers of this approach,” he posted. The prime minister appealed to the civil society, media, Ulema and the tiger force ‘to create awareness among the public of COVID-19’s severity and the need to strictly observe SOPs’,” he said.

No sweeping lockdown

Imran also ruled out the possibility of sweeping lockdown and urged people to follow the SOPs to ctonain the spread of coronavirus.

2000 COVID-19 deaths

Imran’s observation come as COVID-19 cases have sharply risen in Pakistan to 98,943. More than 2000 patients have already died while 33,485 have recovered, according to official tally on Sunday morning. Around 683,5600 people have so far been tested in a country with population of 220 million.

Show sense of discipline

Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development Asad Umar has urged the nation to show sense of responsibility and discipline as much as to contain the spread of coronavirus as it had shown in the early days of the virus.

“In the early days of virus, people had shown a great discipline and followed the guidelines to restrain spread of the disease, however I was much disappointed to see clear violation of SOPs issued by the government during last days of Ramazan and during eid celebrations,” he said while addressing media on Saturday evening at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in Islamabad.

The minister urged the people to follow the guidelines and show discipline again so that the increasing number of corona cases could be restricted, reported APP.

Changes in lifestyle

“The most successful and powerful strategy is that all people should bring changes in their lives in order to defeat this pandemic,” he added. He said the people who were not following the SOPs were not only endangering their own life but they were also threatening lives of others.

He specifically urged the trade and industries leadership to play role in acting upon the guidelines agreed by them.

Asad Umar said slowing the pace of the spread of coronavirus was still top most priority of the government and it was acting upon the smart lock down strategy. “The basic strategy has not been changed that is to limit the pace of spread of disease to that extent that our health system should not be choked.” The minister informed that administrative actions were being taken against those who were violating the SOPs.

Asad Umar said the disease was not as fatal in Pakistan as it was in the Western countries. In Pakistan, he said only nine people out of one million population had died of COVID-19 whereas in United Kingdom (UK), 600 corona patients were died out of one million population.