ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister on Tuesday said that Pakistan cannot afford another lockdown and the nation would have to strictly follow SOPs in order to protect against the deadly virus.
Addressing a Cabinet meeting in Islamabad, PM Imran Khan said the provincial governments needed to ensure the implementation of Trace, Test & Quarantine (TTQ) and smart lockdown strategies pertaining to the coronavirus.
“The country cannot afford lockdown again,” the premier said after the Cabinet 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 COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) needed to be ensured, Umar and Sultan said.
Businesses, industries not to shut down
Pakistan has already recorded 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 at 104,894.
Separately, accompanied by his economic team in Islamabad, the prime minister announced a package for small industries, underscoring 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.
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.