Imran calls for national unity to counter coronavirus as Pakistan's tally hits 250 - GulfToday

Imran calls for national unity to counter coronavirus as Pakistan's tally hits 250


A woman wearing a protective mask shops at a market in Karachi. Centre Young girls and a boy wearing face masks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 on the outskirts of Islamabad on Wednesday. Reuters / AFP

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged calm and called for unity with responsibility to win the war against coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the national tally of COVID-19-infected persons rose to 250.

Pakistan tally of confirmed coronavirus cases crossed 250 on Wednesday after new cases emerged in Sindh, Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

IslamabadMarket-750x450Residents wearing face masks amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 buy food items from a state-run utility store in Islamabad. AFP

In a speech on Tuesday night, the Prime Minister said, "We need to protect ourselves and others to prove that we are a responsible nation. Do not panic. The government will try its best to control the disease, provide medical facilities and ensure supplies."

"Even the US doesn't have the resources to test everyone who comes," he said. "Only those with intense symptoms should go to hospital."

"There is no need to worry. We will fight this as a nation. And God-willing, we will win this war," Imran said.


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Imran told people to support the government in its efforts against the disease by staying at home to judge themselves, avoiding attending public gatherings, taking other precautionary measures and going for medical checkup only if they have COVID-19 symptoms, Xinhua news agency reported.

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His comments came amid a growing dispute in Pakistan between federal and provincial authorities with the latter struggling to secure sufficient coronavirus testing kits and blaming the federal government for failing to properly test and quarantine hundreds of Pakistanis who recently returned home across a land border with Iran.

Late on Tuesday, Pakistan said it would require all arriving air passengers to show they had tested negative for the disease. Land borders have already been shut.


Imran also urged the people to learn from China in combating the disease and hailed China's successful efforts to control the virus spread, saying, "At the time when the number of cases are increasing in the world, the affected people are decreasing in China, which is very good news."

"We are in constant contact with China since the outbreak. China is already helping us, but we need to learn from it even more," said Imran.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Indian subcontinent rose overnight to 482 as authorities across the region imposed travel restrictions to block the fast-spreading disease that has infected nearly 200,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 8,000 people.

There are fears that inadequate health facilities will be overwhelmed in many parts of the poor, crowded region.

The prime minister said that an economic committee would determine how the government could cope with the effects on the country's economy by the coronavirus, adding that the government would take measures to facilitate exporters and those who would suffer losses during the crises.

Karachi-park-750x450General view of an amusement park at Bagh Ibne Qasim closed amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 in Karachi. AFP

Pakistan's central bank cut its key interest rate by 75 bps to 12.50% on Tuesday, the first cut in four years, as the coronavirus roiled markets across the region.

The country has closed all public and private educational institutions, marriage halls, cultural centres, cinemas, and cancelled all sports activities and official events and also blocked its western border crossings with Iran and Afghanistan.

Imran said the country would continue strict screening at all entry points as it has already screened over 9,00,000 people since the country started taking measures against the disease. Quarantine centers are being established across the country and suspected patients, especially coming from abroad, are being kept there.

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in South Asia:

Pakistan - 250

India - 147

Sri Lanka - 43

Afghanistan – 22


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