Govt to gradually ease lockdown in coming days: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the government has decided to gradually ease the lockdown in the coming days keeping in view the economic situation and problems of common man.
The Prime Minister said this while talking to members of national and provincial assemblies here on Monday.
The Prime Minister said SOPs based on safety measures have been prepared for all the sectors and the elected representatives should play their role for implementation on them. The Prime Minister said the government is striving to provide every possible relief to the masses amidst the challenge posed by coronavirus. Despite difficult situation, the government has given an economic package worth Rs1.25 trillion, he added.
Imran Khan said the deserving families are being provided with cash assistance of Rs12,000 in the most transparent manner and on merit. In addition, a special program has also been launched for the workers and laborers.
The Prime Minister urged upon the members of national and provincial assemblies to provide relief to public in difficult situation of coronavirus and also encourage them to adopt precautions to contain the spread of pandemic.
He asked MNAs and MPAs to be more cognizant about implementation of the comprehensive standard operating procedures (SOPs) formulated to ensure the safety of general public against the virus.
The Prime Minister asked the elected representatives to ensure that needy people in their constituencies are being benefited from the government’s relief package. He lauded the spirit of people from the all walks of life to join Corona Relief Tiger Force with an aim to provide relief to the masses.
He mentioned that terms of reference (ToRs) have been devised to utilize the services of one million volunteers to assist provincial administration in relief work besides updating it about situation of stock availability of basic commodities at Utility Stores.
The Prime Minister said a pilot-project in that regard has been launched in Sialkot which could prove as a model for Tiger Force.
Planning Minister Asad Umer briefed meeting about the situation of coronavirus in the country and the steps to control its spread.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Tiger Force will work together with the administration in relief efforts and create awareness among the masses about precautionary measures to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Addressing the volunteers of Corona Relief Tiger Force here on Monday, the Prime Minister pointed out that the pandemic has compelled many countries to take the steps which were never taken before. He said the same kind of volunteer force has also been established in the United Kingdom.
Imran Khan said the lockdown has affected a big population including workers, daily wagers and labourers and this is the reason that the government has decided to gradually lift the restrictions.
He said that SOPs for different sectors are being prepared to ease the restrictions and in this situation, the role of the volunteer force will gain immense importance as they have to ensure implementation of SOPs in order to avert the spread of the contagion.
The Prime Minister said this will help the government run the wheel of the economy and provide job opportunities to the people. He said, “We have to save the people from the pandemic as well as starvation, and the services of tiger force are required to strike a balance in the economic activity and the lockdown.”
The Prime Minister said the government has recently launched a relief program for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. He asked the tiger force to help these people get them registered with the program in order to get the finance assistance under the Ehsaas Program.
Imran Khan asked the volunteers to also keep an eye on the hoarders and accordingly inform the administration so that it could take action against them. He also directed the district administration to take along the Tiger Force and provide them the protection to cope with the current difficult situation.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar said 20,000 members of Tiger Force have been given responsibilities in Sialkot to help out district administration in face of coronavirus challenges.
He said the government has operationalized 203-bed hospital in Sialkot where 403 paramedics are performing their services voluntarily. Similarly, he said 9,000 volunteers of tiger force are helping enforce standing operating procedures in 3,000 mosques in Sialkot.
The Special Assistant further said they are also helping in distributing ration among needy families. He urged the volunteers to strictly follow code of conduct and not to transfer their responsibilities to anyone else.
He said that Corona Relief Tiger Force will operate beyond political affiliation in the best national interest. He said volunteers of the force will be activated and entrusted the responsibilities this week.
He said the volunteers will render relief services at the district and tehsil level. The special assistant said on the call of Prime Minister Imran Khan, people belonging to different segments of the society joined the tiger force.
He, however, regretted that Sindh government has refused to accept the services of the tiger force. He said these are the youth of Pakistan and those registered in Sindh province will operate in their respective areas.
In his remarks, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services, Dr. Zafar Mirza said registered paramedics and doctors with the Tiger Force will perform their services in different sectors. He said the government will also hire their services in implementing ‘Test, Trace and Quarantine’ strategy to contain the coronavirus.
Speaking on the occasion, Managing Director Utility Stores Corporation Umer Lodhi said over 4,000 Utility Stores outlet, 800 franchises and mobile vans are providing essential commodities to the people under Prime Minister’s Relief Package.
He said utility stores sold out items worth Rs10 billion in the first ten days Ramadan-ul-Mubarak.
Meanwhile, talking to his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed Ali over telephone, the Prime Minister Monday underscored that developing countries are faced with the twin challenge of containing the coronavirus and staving off hunger due to loss of livelihoods.
He emphasized that while debt suspension will help free up resources, enhanced measures are needed to reboot the developing economies.
The Prime Minister conveyed Pakistan’s solidarity with the government and people of Ethiopia, and commended their effective measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
The discussion focused on debt relief matters, including Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Global Initiative for Debt Relief’ for developing countries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that a global recession is imminent, Imran Khan underlined that developing countries would need a combination of additional measures to meet urgent financial requirements, sustain growth, and strengthen fragile health systems as well as to save lives and provide social protection to those below the poverty line.
The two leaders agreed on the importance of working together, along with the UN Secretary General and other stakeholders, to evolve a comprehensive plan on debt relief issues.
Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister Abiy to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.
Meanwhile, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani called on Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Monday, the PM Office said.
The meeting discussed matters of mutual interest. – TLTP