‘Trace and track’ system to contain pandemic: PM

-Pakistan hasn’t received even a single dollar in coronavirus aid yet

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced that the government intended to introduce a coronavirus ‘trace and track’ system with the help of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.Speaking to social media influencers and journalists, the prime minister said that the system will help in identifying areas where there were numerous coronavirus cases.
“We will lock down those areas where there are [numerous] coronavirus cases whereas business in other areas will be kept open,” he said. PM Imran said that not foreign country or global organisation had lent Pakistan money. “Our reserves have gone down, taxes have decreased and businesses have closed,” he said, adding that Pakistan was facing severe hardships.
He said that Pakistan was about to start telemedicine and teleducation in the country. The prime minister stressed on the need to fight the coronavirus with unity, saying that the pandemic had wreaked havoc around the world.
“The coronavirus is proving to be a test for the whole world,” he said. “India, Bangladesh and countries in Africa are riddled with problems.”
Reiterating his support for a partial lockdown, PM Imran said that a complete shutdown of the country’s businesses and economic activities will give rise to unemployment.
“We should not close businesses under the lockdown,” he said. “We cannot say how long the coronavirus will last,” he added.
‘Current affairs programmes have become meaningless for people’
PM Imran said that he had witnessed the highs and lows of Pakistani media. “I have seen ratings of TV anchors go up and also, go down,” he said. “Respect and dishonour both are in Allah’s hands. If someone thinks he can bring dishonour to another person, he is wrong.”
He said that if human beings could bring honour or dishonour upon someone then only the rich would be respected. “You cannot hide or suppress the truth for long,” he said.
The prime minister said that Pakistani media was used to hide politicians’ corruption. “[TV] anchors were given money to do planted programmes,” he said, adding that current affairs shows had become ‘meaningless’ for people. “Current affairs programmes produce no results,” he said.
PM Imran said that Hollywood and Bollywood were promoting vulgarity in society. “Vulgarity destroys the family system,” he said. His remarks come a day after Maulana Tariq Jamil criticised Pakistani and international media for peddling lies.
Speaking about the PTI’s social media team, PM Imran said that his party was the first one that realised the importance of digital media. “I started the PTI’s social media team with Dr Arif Alvi,” he added.Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan has not received any financial assistance from any country or global organisation despite the coronavirus outbreak in the country which has infected more than 11,500 people and claimed over 240 lives.
During a meeting with social media influencers and journalists, he said the situation developing after the pandemic is a big test for the entire world and Pakistan, Express News reported.
However, he added, the situation was different in the country than Europe and the United States.
Larkana’s Covid-19 patients roaming freely amid rise in cases of local transmission
The premier said that the underprivileged were the hardest hit by lockdowns whereas the remittances from overseas Pakistanis have also stopped. “I did not want to impose the lockdown as it would increase the miseries of the labourers and daily wagers. 75% of them are not even registered,” he added.
He said that Pakistan’s economy was badly hit by the pandemic and despite severe hardships, no country or global organisation lent even a single dollar, adding that only International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave relief in repayment of loans.
Apparently taking a jibe at the political opponents, PM Imran said that many people were spreading false propaganda and resorting to lies on social media. “Those who have made money out of corruption were afraid of free media because they would get exposed,” he said and added that no matter how many lies are told, people would eventually find the truth.
He said that no one can predict when the coronavirus crisis would end but the government was relaxing the lockdown in phases.
PM Imran further said that the government will introduce track and trace system with the help of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, adding that it would help in identifying coronavirus hotspots across the country.