- Imran says government cannot move towards complete lockdown in country as it will affect labourers and daily wagers.
- PM advises media channels to refrain from spreading panic among the people.
- PM says he will address nation twice a week to update them on corona situation: Imran.
(Karachi) Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government will announce an economic package to deal with the coronavirus situation. He added the government is closely monitoring the matter and it will not hide facts from the public.
Addressing senior journalists in Islamabad on Friday, he said the government cannot move towards complete lockdown as it will directly affect labourers and daily wage workers. "We don't have resources for a lockdown," he remarked.
He pointed out coronavirus spread in Pakistan from Iran. The prime minister said that if chaos spreads in the country and the situation goes out of control, it will be destructive for the whole nation.
Imran said there is need to combat rumours related to coronavirus and the media should report facts with more responsibility. "Media and private TV channels should stop creating panic among the people," the prime minister said.
He maintained that the government is preparing an economic package to deal with the pandemic which will be announced on Tuesday (March 24).
Imran added that he will address the nation twice in a week to update them on the issue.
The PM highlighted that the government cannot win battle against the deadly disease without the support and cooperation of the public.
He said it is very important that people who show symptoms of coronavirus must self-quarantine them. He said the people should also limit their social gatherings for the next one or two months.
The PM said the situation is being monitored and tracked on daily basis to gauge its impacts. He said experiences of various countries, especially China, will be utilized to tackle the menace of coronavirus.
Imran Khan said the government is fully alert and vibrant to the threat and it has been decided that all federal ministers will be available in Islamabad during this crisis and there will not be any leave of them.
Imran said the government is in constant contact with the Chinese government when the cases of virus first emerged in their country. Later, when the cases were traced in Iran, we also started communicating with Tehran regarding the situation, he said.
He elaborated that Special Assistant on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza visited Taftan area to witness the situation first-hand. As a result, a lot of measures were adopted for better screening of patients of coronavirus in collaboration with army and civilian authorities. He said it is not right to blame anyone in this crisis.
Speaking on the occasion, Hafeez Shaikh said that the government has planned to cut taxes and provide subsidy on items in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
He said the finance ministry will devise strategies in order to save the country from economic meltdown.
He said the economic indicators of the country were showing progress before the eruption of coronavirus. He said as the global economy is slowing down due to the global pandemic, our exports are also likely to be impacted. It could also reduce the foreign remittances received by the country, besides plummeting the job creation opportunities.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said a survey is being conducted to understand which industries are hurting the most in this crisis. He said as part of stimulus measures, taxes will be reduced on certain products while subsidies will be given on others.
The Advisor said every effort will be made that relief worth 280 billion rupees to farmers is not disturbed. He said disbursements under Ehsaas program will be accelerated so that vulnerable segments of the society are not impacted by the corona threat.
Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has said there are 96 confirmed coronavirus patients in the province while the government has declared health emergency in Punjab.
Addressing a press briefing in Lahore on Friday, he said 76 affected coronavirus patients are pilgrims, who came from Iran.
He added there is need for officials and public to take the issue of coronavirus seriously. The CM said the government is setting up a 1,000 bed quarantine in Expo Centre.