Cabinet rejects virus emergency

– 5th Coronavirus case confirmed
By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday rejected a proposal to declare a health emergency in the country after confirmation of five cases of the novel coronavirus, media reported.
Addressing a presser to convey the decisions taken by the federal cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Special Assistant to PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said that it was decided to expedite screening process of all Pakistanis returning from aboard.
“The health authorities shared the details of the ongoing screening process of those who had recently visited China and Iran,” she said.
We have to fight out the virus rather than becoming afraid of the situation,” she said and added that currently, Pakistan is in a safe zone as only five cases of the coronavirus are reported.
“Those detected with the virus had a travel history of Iran and we are in touch with the neighboring country’s authorities to deal with the situation,” she said.
She further said that the cabinet mulled over 11-point agenda and the Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar shared the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showing a decline in inflation during the month of February. “The prime minister applauded the efforts of the economic team and ordered strict action against hoarders,” the adviser said adding that providing relief to masses was among their top priority.
She said the prime minister also took strict notice of physical torture of children in the schools.
Firdous Ashiq Awan said during the briefing that the premier rejected any plans to improve trade with the neighbouring arch-rival India and said that it would be like adding insult to the injuries of the Kashmiris who are facing the Indian brutalities.
Meanwhile, the cabinet was also briefed over electricity tariff and overbilling complaints by Federal Energy Minister Omar Ayub. “It was decided that more efforts were needed to end electricity theft in the country,” the SAPM said.
She further said federal ministers Asad Umar and Pervez Khattak were tasked to approach opposition parties for approving the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) bill from the Senate.
Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the court in its verdict has asked for legislation on replacing the PMC with Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).
“The PMC bill sailed through the National Assembly but faces an opposition in the Senate owing to the majority of the opposition parties,” she said.
Further commenting on the return of Nawaz Sharif from London, Firdous Ashiq Awan said that a letter has been written by the foreign ministry seeking the return of the inmate-referring to the convicted PML-N leader whose sentence remain suspended on humanitarian grounds.
She said that it has been 105 days since Nawaz Sharif left the country. “If he has not undergone treatment during this spell, it means that he misused the court orders,” she said adding that they wanted the PML-N leader to return home.
The adviser said that Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif should not misguide the PML-N activists as they had submitted an affidavit with the court not with the federal government to return on time.
The Federal Cabinet meeting on Tuesday approved the appointment of new Pakistan International Airline (PIA) chairman.
The decision was taken in the cabinet meeting held at Prime Minister House with PM Imran Khan in the chair to discuss 13-point agenda.
The meeting discussed the overall political and economic situation of the country. Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza briefed the meeting about the arrangements put in place to deal with the coronavirus cases.