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COVID-19: PM Imran says Pakistan cannot go for another lockdown

Prime Minister Imran Khan urged everyone to strictly follow the preventive measures against the novel coronavirus. The News/via

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Tuesday Pakistan could not afford to go for another coronavirus lockdown despite officials monitoring the pandemic warning that the second wave of COVID-19 has already hit the country.

Addressing a Cabinet meeting here in the federal capital, PM Imran Khan said the provincial governments needed to ensure the implementation of the Trace, Test & Quarantine (TTQ) and smart lockdown strategies pertaining to the coronavirus.

The premier urged everyone to strictly follow the preventive measures against the novel coronavirus. “The country cannot afford lockdown again,” he said after a Cabinet meeting he was presiding over was briefed on the COVID-19 situation across the nation.

Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar — who also heads the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) — and the premier’s aide on health, Dr Faisal Sultan, informed the Cabinet that the number of coronavirus patients, as well as virus-related deaths, was increasing,

Adherence to the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) needed to be ensured, Umar and Sultan said, following which the Cabinet decided that Pakistan would not go into to a fresh lockdown despite the rising number of cases.

Businesses, industries not to shut down

The federal government also decided to strictly implement the coronavirus SOPs, sources told Geo News.

As of reporting time, Pakistan has recorded a whopping 336,260 coronavirus cases, of which 315,446 have recovered, and close to 7,000 deaths. Sindh has the highest number of cases, at 146,774, with Punjab closely following suit, at 104,894.

Accompanied by his economic team in Islamabad, the prime minister announced a package for small industries, underscoring, however, that Pakistan’s industries would not be closed down now.

Additional power to small-scale industries would be provided at a cost of 50%, he said.

‘God has been gracious’

If the number of COVID-19 cases rises, the businesses and industries would continue their operations while heeding the SOPs, he added.

PM Imran Khan said the second wave of the deadly coronavirus was spreading rapidly throughout the world and cases in Pakistan were also shooting up.

“God Almighty has been very kind to Pakistan; we have made wise decisions and God has been gracious,” he said.

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