Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar 21 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has refused to impose a nationwide lockdown despite the cases of coronavirus in the country crossing 500.
There have been three COVID-19 deaths in Pakistan so far and the total number of confirmed cases has gone up to 501, Geo News reported. Sindh is the worst-hit province with 252 cases.
Analysts have suggested a complete lockdown of Pakistan, including suspension of flights in view of the increase in the number of infections.
"Lockdown means curfew-like situation, which will create unrest in the country and we cannot afford that. It would make poor people more vulnerable," Khan said.
Khan said that the government was working on an economic package that will be announced on Tuesday. "We cannot compete with other countries of the world who are announcing economic packages," he said. "However, we will protect our lower and labour class against the effects of the coronavirus. This package will do so."
A lack of necessary medical equipment such as masks, test kits, and ventilators, is limiting the scope of prevention, testing and treatment of the disease in Pakistan. Doctors have threatened to go on strike until the equipment is provided.
Meanwhile, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have announced help to economically stricken Pakistan by providing USD 588 million for its emergency response to fight the coronavirus and to address the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
Reports of the lack of adequate screening procedures and squalid living conditions at the quarantine camps at the Taftan border crossing with Iran have further raised concerns of the surge in the number of infections.
Similarly, hundreds of people from PoK belonging to Sudhnoti and Rawalakot, working alongside the Chinese workers, face a difficult situation given the lack of screening procedures. People are demanding that all employees working with Chinese workers be screened.
Several residents of Lahore have complained that some hospitals are charging over PRK 9,000 for the coronavirus test, against the government's claims that the tests were being carried out for free.
Dozens of families living in the Leepa Valley have left for other parts amid coronavirus concerns, despite assurances that the Army was capable of handling the situation. (ANI)