From Abid Usman
LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that the fight against coronavirus would last long, and they have planned a two-thronged strategy to deal with it, media reported.
“On one hand we will be adopting all measures to fight coronavirus and on the other we will continue to take measures aimed at running the economy so that poor segments of the society do not get affected from the ongoing situation,” said the premier while addressing a fundraising event at Governor House Punjab for Prime Minister Relief Fund for COVID-19.
“We have allowed construction sector to operate during lockdown and are mulling on daily basis as to which other industry could be allowed to operate ensuring proper preventive measures,” he said. The prime minister expressed his gratitude towards philanthropists for giving away large sums of donations to the fund.
“It is a test for the nation to pass through this difficult phase with courage and supporting each other,” he said adding that even the countries having better infrastructure and modern equipment were facing difficulties to battle against the virus.
He lauded the sports and showbiz celebrities for carrying out charity works in the country. Khan said that he considers it a challenge for him to lead the nation during that difficult time and if succeeded in overcoming it, they would come out as further strengthened.
He said that it was unfortunate that they have forgot the ideology on which the country was founded and the religion was only used for politics and other means rather than learning a lesson to move forward.
“We have to adopt the same principles on which the first Islamic state was founded in Medinah,” he said adding that everyone should support one and other to pass through that difficult time.
Imran Khan said that the government has announced one of the biggest relief package of the country’s history and they would further continue their support with the help of donations from philanthropists.
“We will be announcing more relief packages for the poor,” he said.
The prime minister spoke against downplaying the coronavirus threat and said that it was not an option for them as although the country has not been badly affected from the virus but still, the situation could turn worst if preventive measures were not adopted.
“We will be putting all virus-hit areas in the country under complete lockdown,” he said adding that the tiger force established by the government would help them in carrying out activities to fight the virus as war against it would last for long in the country. He said that they would be providing cash to the needy families without any discrimination and would verify data of the families using tiger force volunteers. The prime minister also asked the federal and provincial lawmakers to go out in their constituencies and serve the masses as it was the real politics.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on a day’s visit to the capital of Punjab visited the 1000-bed field hospital set-up in the city’s expo center to facilitate coronavirus patients and suspects, media reported on Saturday. The premier is accompanied by Federal Minister’s Fawad Chaudhry and Shafqat Mehmood along with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on poverty alleviation and focal person for PM’s Ehsaas initiative Sania Nishtar along with SAPM on Health, Zafar Mirza and Usman Dar are also accompanying Prime Minister Imran Khan on the trip.
The field hospital at Lahore expo center for COVID-19 patients was established within nine days. The hospital is meant to isolate and treat confirmed patients of the coronavirus in a safe and secure environment.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on March 20 approved to establish the 1000-bed special field hospital at Lahore’s Expo Centre in the fight against novel coronavirus. The chief minister directed authorities to start purchasing beds and other medical equipment needed to establish a field hospital at the expo center.
The premier concluding his trip to the healthcare facility has now made his way to Punjab’s Governor House where he is attending a coronavirus relief fund ceremony.
Prime Minister of Pakistan on Saturday said that Pakistan faced a dilemma where it has to make the most difficult decisions to create an intricate balance amidst the lockdown and stop its poor from starving to death. Taking to the micro-blogging website Twitter, the premier said that their is a very real danger to Pakistan’s teetering economy as the country and the world goes through the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Tweet read: “In the subcontinent, with a high rate of poverty, we are faced with the stark choice of having to balance between a lockdown necessary to slow down/prevent the spread of COVID19 & ensuring people don’t die of hunger & our economy doesn’t collapse. So we are walking a tightrope.”
A follow-up tweet on the matter read: “We have locked down educational institutions, Malls, marriage halls, restaurants & other places where public congregates. But, to stop the devastation of the lockdown we have kept our agri sector open & now we are opening up our construction sector.”
Yesterday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated the government can’t confine 220 million people to their homes through a complete lockdown to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Speaking at a media talk, he announced a “historic” stimulus package for the construction sector. Stressing the need for striking a balance between the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and providing livelihoods to daily wagers, the prime minister said how can they ask the people to stay home even if they are hungry.