Punjab [Pakistan], June 2 (ANI): Buckling under the business community's pressure and to "keep the economy running," the Punjab government has allowed opening of all markets, bazaars, shopping malls and other businesses five days a week with longer working hours despite a consistent increase in coronavirus infections across the country, which stood at 76,398 on Tuesday.
According to province-wise break up of the total cases cited by Dawn, 29,647 cases were reported in Sindh, 27,850 in Punjab, 10,027 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 4,514 in Balochistan, 2,893 in Islamabad, 738 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 271 in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
The country also registered 1,621 deaths but the country is no longer looking forward to imposing a lockdown as the government said the poor have been largely hit by the COVID-19 lockdown.
"Unfortunately, the [previous] lockdown has already hit the poor people. We no longer can afford that," prime minister Imran Khan told a news conference in the capital Islamabad after the meeting of the National Coordination Committee -- a body that monitors the coronavirus situation in the country.
"Therefore, except for a few sectors, all other sectors will stay open," Khan said, without specifying the sectors that will remain closed. "We have to save our people from coronavirus and hunger simultaneously."
The development came days after health experts warned of a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country following the lifting of the two-month nationwide lockdown late May.
"Coronavirus is going nowhere, at least this year. That means we have to live with it following safety guidelines," Khan said further.
The tax collection in Pakistan, the premier said, has reduced 30 per cent, in addition to decreasing foreign and local investment due to the lockdown.
However, thanks to Islamabad for declining Punjab's proposal for reopening of some 4,500 registered restaurants, besides the unregistered ones, including 'dhabas' in Lahore alone.
Media reports further stated that district courts and tribunals in Peshawar resumed operations this week after a break of over two months.
It has been viewed that Pakistan is the most chilled out in a world hit by the coronavirus. A PTI minister termed coronavirus as god's punishment, the Punjab chief minister promises ulemas mosques won't be closed, while the citizens look up to their government for direction. Unfortunately, the Imran Khan government has no plan and no direction to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. (ANI)