Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday ruled out the possibility of a countrywide lockdown saying that the nation cannot undergo a complete lockdown as the poor and daily wage workers will suffer severely if the government takes such decision.
“I would have gone for a lockdown if our situation was like Italy, China or Spain’s,” the PM said while addressing the nation.
He said that the country cannot afford to impose a complete lockdown as 25 percent of the people in the country live below poverty line, adding that, what will happen to those 25 percent poor people if the country is moving towards the lockdown.
PM Khan said if the condition worsened in Pakistan as it had in Italy and China he would have thought about imposing a lockdown.
“Let me tell you what a lockdown is. A lockdown means putting a curfew and restricting people to their homes with the military on the streets,” he said.
The premier said 90 percent of the people who get coronavirus, recover after a few days. If the virus spreads it is old and the weak who will suffer and will have to go to the hospitals,” he commented.
The premier remarked, people could limit the virus if they stop attending gatherings and start sitting at home to ensure minimum spread of the pandemic.
“If the people start celebrating weddings and attending large functions, you will put the old at risk. “It is your responsibility to exercise caution and restraint. This is why we have closed down malls, schools and universities.”
“I take pride in my nation; we have braved many problems and crisis. The Pakistani nation has united to fight challenges whenever the country has been faced with it. A nation’s character is found in hard times and I saw my nation’s character in the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods,” he stated.
The prime minister, while citing China’s example said, Pakistan could also come out of this pandemic if the public was disciplined and practiced self-isolation.
“The nation needs to know that my team and I are looking into this to make sure the public remains and we come out of this. For this reason, I will be announcing about how we can keep our economy afloat” he said. “I will come in front of you day after tomorrow and tell you what we are doing for our industry.”
“The more you practice discipline, the easier it will be for us to get out of this crisis. Like the Chinese nation, we will also come out of this crisis, he added.
The PM stated that the only risk we have is the one created by the panic which leads to people hoarding and creating a shortage.
“You need to put your trust in me and my team because we are working on how to tackle this pandemic, PM Khan said, adding that “you should show full confidence in me”.
The prime minister said that the media had an important role to play in ensuring panic does not spread.
Earlier today, the prime minister also chaired a meeting where he reviewed the measures taken to tackle the spread of the pandemic in the country.