ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reiterated that he could not impose a complete nationwide lockdown as the government cannot facilitate the needy people.
Addressing the nation regarding the coronavirus situation, the prime minister said the world is fighting against the coronavirus according to their capacity. He said the only country that has remained successful so far in this struggle was China that placed 20 million people under lockdown.
He said if Pakistan was in a similar situation like China, he could have shut down the whole cities, but a quarter of the population lives under the poverty line and an additional twenty percent is on the borderline who would face the biggest brunt of the lockdown.
PM Imran Kahn said that a lockdown would not be a successful option without providing food to the people as the virus would not differentiate between a rich and a poor person. He also gave the example of United Kingdom where the prime minister has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The prime minister further said that the country that has been most successful so far in this war has been China, adding that the lockdown in Wuhan had enabled them to beat the virus. He further stated that the whole world was in a situation of war and each country was fighting with coronavirus within its capacity.
PM Imran stated that Pakistan has two main strengths in the coronavirus fight – faith, which has made us one of the most charitable nations in the world, and youth that can build the future of the nation.
The prime minister announced the establishment of ‘Corona Relief Tiger Force’ that will work in collaboration with civil administration and army to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Commenting on the youth force, PM Imran said that Pakistan’s major population depends on youth that can build the future of the nation.He said a cell is working in the PM Office round the clock to monitor the situation closely.
“Corona Relief Tiger Force will provide food to areas that are under lockdown and will also raise awarness about the coronavirus,” PM Imran added.
Referring to disinformation, PM Imran said that people must be clear that the coronavirus is more dangerous to elderly people and persons with underlying health conditions and it is not a social stigma.
Commenting on relief fund, the prime minister announced ‘Corona Relief Fund’ at National Bank of Pakistan where charitable contributions can be made. The contributions will also be tax-free and tax incentives will be given to tax filing persons. The account number is 4162 786 786 that be operational from April 1, 2020.
Announcing the relief package, the prime minister said that Pakistan’s relief package was around $ 8 billion which can be further enhanced depending on needs. “State Bank of Pakistan will give loans to such industries on low markup that do not lay off their employees,” he added.
He said the Facebook page of Ehsaas program will give details about the areas where people are in most need. Warning the hoarders and profiteers, PM Imran said that strict action will be taken against them, and they will be given exemplary punishment.