More than 18 million Pakistanis to Lose Jobs

More than 18 million Pakistanis to Lose Jobs

More than 18 million Pakistanis have become jobless due to the lockdown inflicted in the country to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease, says Asad Umar, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms.

“According to the forecasts of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), about 70 million of the country’s population could drop below the poverty scale in the current aspect,” Asad Umar told in a televised press briefing in Islamabad. Also, he worried that due to the lockdown, more than one million small businesses could be shuttered permanently.

Asad Umar, who also chairs the National Command and Operation Centre on coronavirus, said having in view the increasing number of deaths in the country, people should adopt severe protective measures against COVID-19.

A police officer uses a megaphone to disperse shopkeepers gathered to reopen their shops at a closed market in Karachi. Image Source: Reuters
A police officer uses a megaphone to disperse shopkeepers gathered to reopen their shops at a closed market in Karachi. Image Source: Reuters

According to the official tally, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has grown to 23,850 patients as of Thursday morning, May 7, with 530 deaths, and 6,250 victims have recovered.

“The average numbers and rate of infections are still notably less when matched to the European nations and the United States,” said the minister.

He pointed out that in Pakistan, the infection had not shown to be as widespread as in Europe and the US. Analyzing the death rate of various countries in 46 days after 100 deaths, the minister said in Spain 414 people out of one million died while in Italy the number was 405; it was 256 in France, 248 in UK and 116 in the US while in Pakistan only two coronavirus cases died out of one million.

As Pakistan imposes stricter lockdown measures, many daily wage workers are unable to work, earn and eat. Image Source: BBC

On average, he said as contrasted to Pakistan; the US had 58 per cent more deaths; the UK had 124 per cent more deaths while Spain had 207 per cent more deaths. Umar stated there could be specific causes behind the low death rate in this region, adding that no one could demand to have exterminated the infection entirely.

He said every country is working to flatten the curve to dominate the disease to a particular level. The minister said that the NCOC would share all these summaries about coronavirus in the conference of National Coordination Committee (NCC), to be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. “We do not follow the West blindly, and the future arrangements would also be conducted according to our ground realities,” he commented.

Volunteers prepare free bags of dry ration for people in at a distribution center during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Karachi. Image Source: AFP/Asif Hassan

The minister said the government was facing tremendous economic losses due to the lockdown; in April, it suffered a loss of Rs 120 Billion. “We have to run the progression of government, health, education and other systems and also to grant relief to the poor with the help of this tax money,” he added.

Referring to a study conducted by GALLUP Pakistan, he stated every one person out of four responded that they had to lessen the quantity of their regular food intake.

Workers stitch facemasks during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown against the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a factory in Karachi. Image Source: AFP/Asif Hassan

Concerning the current situation of the healthcare system, the minister stated that at present, there were 5,000 Intensive Care Units (ICU) available in the country, of which 1,500 had been prepared for corona patients. In contrast, only 132 patients had been admitted to the ICU.

Similarly, he stated the country had 1,400 ventilators, and by June this year, the number would expand to 2,000. He said that at present, 35 coronavirus cases were on ventilators.

The minister said the government was also expanding the capacity of the health sector, adding that today’s healthcare system of the country is far better than that in pre-COVID times. He stated, currently, the country had a capability of 20,000 testes per day. The minister also said Tracking, Testing and Quadrating (TTQ) strategy and mechanism are in place.

Tags : businesscoronavirus diseaseCOVID-19EconomyEmploymentGlobal Pandemichealthpakistan

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