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Pakistan Prime Minister Defends Lifting Lockdown, Urges Nation To ‘Live With The Virus’

Pakistan Prime Minister Defends Lifting Lockdown, Urges Nation To ‘Live With The Virus’

On Monday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan referred financial damages to defend his government’s decision to raise a coronavirus lockdown despite increasing cases and fatalities, prompting people to “live with the virus.”

Pakistan has rolled back nearly all shutdown measures, primarily to avoid a financial meltdown. The country would open to tourism, but cinemas, theatres, and institutions remain shut.

The South Asian nation of 220 million has recorded more than 76,000 novel coronavirus cases and more than 1,600 fatalities, which surged recently to as high as 80 a day.

Pakistan Prime Minister Defends Lifting Lockdown, Urges Nation To 'Live With The Virus'
COVID-19 Statistics in Pakistan as of June 2, 2020. Source: Covid.gov.pk

Despite swiftly growing coronavirus cases in the country, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan declared on Monday that no lockdown would be reimposed.

“Sadly, the previous lockdown has already knocked the low-income households. We no longer can allow that,” Khan announced at a news conference in the capital Islamabad after the meeting of the National Coordination Committee, an organization that watches the coronavirus situation in the country.

“Therefore, except for a few sectors, all other sectors will stay open,” Khan stated, without naming the sectors that will continue closed.

“We have to safe our people from pandemic and hunger concurrently.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Defends Lifting Lockdown, Urges Nation To 'Live With The Virus'
A health worker wearing a protective face mask takes a medical history from a man, who is sitting in a car, at the drive-through screening. Image Source: Reuters

The development came days after health specialists notified of a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases across the nation following the lifting of a two-month country-wide lockdown in late May.

“Coronavirus is going nowhere, at least this year. That implies we have to live with it following protection guidelines,” Khan asserted.

The premier stated that the tax collection in Pakistan had decreased by 30%, in addition to reducing foreign and local investment because of lockdown.

Its financial losses involved a drop in exports, a 30% shortfall in revenues, and remittances were suspected of falling in the following months, Khan stated. With the fiscal deficit possible to rise as high as 9.4% and the revenue shortfall, Pakistan is suffering a balance of payment dilemma.

Pakistan Prime Minister Defends Lifting Lockdown, Urges Nation To 'Live With The Virus'
People gather outside a shopping bazar, after police sealed it for not following the government’s precautionary measures. Image Source: Reuters

The country couldn’t afford to meet the losses incurred throughout the lockdown as many other countries had done, Khan stated in a televised address.

He indicated 50 million people who live below the poverty line and 25 million everyday wagers.

Khan told his administration gave cash grants to the poor, which wasn’t possible to proceed on such a massive scale. Adding around 130 million to 150 million people were unfavorably affected by the closedowns.

Pakistan Prime Minister Defends Lifting Lockdown, Urges Nation To 'Live With The Virus'
Shopkeepers gather outside a closed electronics market, to reopen their shops as the lockdown continues during the efforts to stop the spread. Image Source: Reuters

“Our situations don’t allow that we keep supplying money to them, how long we can provide the money,” Khan asserted.

He asked people to act responsibly, but more infections and deaths were unavoidable.

“This virus will grow more. I have to tell it with disappointment that there will be more graves,” Khan said. “If we do take precautions, they we can survive with the virus.”

Tags : businessCOVID-19ExonomyFinanceGlobal PandemichealthImran KhanpakistanVirus OutbreakWHO

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