What will happen to poor ones, if we impose lockdown says PM

Islamabad, March 222020:Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday once again said that country cannot afford the lockdown and urged the nation to keep calm and not panic as the country battles the coronavirus outbreak.

What will happen to the 25 per cent poor people in the country if I go ahead with the lockdown?

“Pakistan cannot afford to impose a total lockdown. 25 per cent of the people in the country live below the poverty line,” the prime minister said while addressing the nation.

“What will happen to the 25 per cent poor people in the country if I go ahead with the lockdown?” he said.

The premier added that if the situation in the country had escalated as it had in Italy and China he would have thought about imposing a lockdown. “Let me tell you what a lockdown is. A lockdown means putting a curfew and restricting people to their homes with the military on the streets,” PM Imran said.

“Ninety per cent of the people who get coronavirus, recover after a few days. If the virus spreads it is old and the weak who will suffer and will have to go to the hospitals,” he remarked

He added the virus could be curbed if people stopped attending gatherings and weddings and started sitting at home to ensure minimum spread of the virus.

“If the people start celebrating weddings and attending large functions, you will put the old at risk. “It is your responsibility to exercise caution and restraint. This is why we have closed down malls, schools and universities.”

“I take pride in my nation, we have braved many problems and crisis. The Pakistani nation has united to fight challenges whenever the country has been faced with it. A nation’s character is found in hard times and I saw my nations character in the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods,” he remarked. 

Citing China’s example, the prime minister said, Pakistan could also come out of this pandemic if the public was disciplined and practised seld-isolation.

“The nation needs to know that my team and I are looking into this to make sure the public remains and we come out of this. For this reason, I will be announcing about how we can keep our economy afloat” he said. “I will come in front of you day after tomorrow and tell you what we are doing for our industry.” 

The prime minister added, “The more you practice discipline, the easier it will be for us to get out of this crisis. Like the Chinese nation, we will also come out of this crisis.

“In the end, the only danger we have is the one created by the panic which leads to people hoarding and creating a shortage. You need to put your trust in me and my team because we are working on how to tackle this pandemic,” he added. 

“You should show full confidence in me,” the prime minister said, adding that the media had an important role to play in ensuring panic does not spread.

Earlier, the prime minister also chaired a meeting on Sunday where he reviewed the measures taken to combat the spread of the virus in the country.

The prime minister was also briefed in meeting about the steps taken by the provinces.

In his address to the nation last week, the prime minister had also ruled out a complete lockdown, saying that the federal government would not do the same as the economic impact will be disastrous.

Read also: Social media urges to lockdown the country

He said that the government had shut down cinemas and barred people from gathering at public places. However, he said that the federal government was not in favour of lockdown as its effects will prove difficult for the poor.

PM Imran said that Italy and other countries that had imposed a lockdown could do so as their per capita income was higher than Pakistan’s. He said that it was important to keep the economy afloat and at the same time, keep people safe from the pandemic.

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