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The federal and provincial governments are taking effective measures to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus which has claimed fifteen lives so far. The government has unveiled economic and financial stimulus packages to prevent the adverse economic effects amid lockdown while much-needed medical aid and equipment are gradually arriving in the country.
The government of Punjab has announced Rs10 billion relief package for poor strata of society and waived Rs18 billion in provincial taxes. The government also announced an additional month’s salary for frontline workers – medical staff and paramedics – attending to coronavirus patients in hospitals across the province. Punjab government has also decided to provide Rs4,000 per family to 2.5 million households. These efforts to provide tax exemptions and cash incentives during the difficult period is undoubtedly praiseworthy.
Simultaneously, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved Rs11.4 billion stimulus economic package to provide relief to the masses. Prime Minister Imran Khan has also announced that the federal government has allocated Rs200 billion for labourers as part of a massive stimulus package. In fact, governments around the world are unveiling plans to help people who are staying at home against the pandemic.
At present, the entire world, including Pakistan, is battling with an unseen enemy. The deadly virus has spread in almost all provinces and territories of the country and has affected more than 1,500 people so far. Punjab and Sindh remain the most affected provinces from coronavirus. Along with the health crisis, the biggest issue is serving those affected by the lockdown and the government is working on it.
The government have taken all possible steps to address the challenges arising from coronavirus and lockdown to the best of its ability and resources. It is now up to the citizens to act responsibly and follow the directives issued by the government, health agency and paramedical staff. The rising number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan is only due to people’s negligence and lack of understanding. People with mild symptoms are not taking precautionary measures or directives seriously and are inadvertently risking others lives.
There is a stern need to support the government beyond personal and political interests as the lives and health of everyone is at stake. The government should tighten restrictions if the directives are not taken seriously. We should appreciate the government’s efforts and measure rather than undue criticism.