Lockdown fate to be decided after provinces’ input on April 14: PM

QUETTA: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said that decision about easing the countrywide lockdown will be taken after seeking input from all the provinces on 14th of this month.
Talking to members of Balochistan cabinet and parliamentarians and later addressing a news conference at Governor House in Quetta on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that federal and provincial governments are working in cohesion to cope with the situation arising out of COVID-19.
The Prime Minister said that National Command and Control Center is minutely observing the coronavirus situation across the country. He expressed fear that hospitals will face immense pressure due to likely surge in corona cases by the end of this month.
He urged the nation to demonstrate unity to mitigate adverse impacts of coronavirus. The Prime Minister called upon the nation to join hands with the government in war against coronavirus as it is the issue of entire country.
Khan said his visit to Balochistan is aimed at ascertaining the grievances and problems being face by the masses of the most backward and poor province. He maintained that he came here to extend cooperation to Balochistan government in providing maximum relief during the lockdown.
He said the federal government would provide financial assistance to more than one hundred million lockdown-stricken people across the country.
He said the whole world was confronted with an unprecedented situation after the outbreak of COVID-19 and Pakistani nation would fight coronavirus with unity.
He said the government is fully focusing on providing personal protection equipment (PPEs) and other related tools to doctors and paramedical staff at the hospitals, adding that such equipment has been provided to all those working at the intensive care units.
He said there was shortage of ventilators and testing kits worldwide but the government is utilizing all its resources to import them on emergency basis.
He expressed his pleasure that there was no patient of coronavirus in Balochistan in the intensive care units. The Prime Minister said the coronavirus would have less impact on Balochistan except Quetta as the province had scattered population. Contrary to it, he said, the COVID-19 would have greater impact in big cities like Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad and so on.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the complete lockdown is badly affecting the low-income and laborer community particularly in Balochistan as majority of the people here are already living below the poverty line.
He said the provincial governments themselves would decide about the lockdown according to their situation on April 14.
He said the federal and provincial governments were in coordination to tackle the pandemic as no single government could tackle it alone.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday called for adopting an effective and coordinated strategy to ensure uninterrupted supply of food items, continuity of economic activities, provision of job opportunities and reduction of poverty in Balochistan in the wake of situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak.
Stressing on the importance of sustained review of such a strategy, he, in that respect, also asked for the formation of a think-tank consisting of experts from various sectors.
The Prime Minister expressed these views while presiding over a briefing here on the situation arising out of the Covid-19 in Balochistan province.
Federal ministers Asad Umar, Zubaida Jalal, Governor Balochistan Justice (retd) Amanullah Khan, Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan, provincial Minister for Education Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, Commander Southern Command and senior officers were present on the occasion.
Giving recommendations, he said the think-tank should prioritize and focus on the take-care and welfare of poor people living below the poverty line.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of easing restriction for the promotion of agricultural activities and supply of food items in the province.
During the meeting, he was briefed about the take-care of people affected by coronavirus, arrangements made for the facilitation of pilgrims, uninterrupted supply of food items, provision of protection kits for doctors and health workers, and a future strategy to cope with the situation.
He was also briefed about the provincial government’s current and future relief packages, distribution of ration among the deserving people, establishment of a Corona Relief Fund by the parliamentarians, various waivers for health workers and the measures regarding disinfection campaign at different places.
Earlier, the Prime Minister visited Quarantine Center at Bolan Medical College Hospital Quetta. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Khan Soori and Sardar Yar Muhammad Rindh.
Chief Secretary Balochistan briefed the Prime Minister about the isolation ward and Quarantine Center.
Meanwhile, Governor Balochistan Justice (Retd) Aman Ullah Khan and Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday reached Quetta on a daylong visit.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has praised financial assistance of the needy people and termed it as ‘great achievement’ of the federal government for transferring cash among deserving families on a massive scale across the country.
PM Imran Khan said in his Twitter messages that Rs144 billion will be distributed among 12 million deserving families over the next two weeks. The premier has also shared a video and photos of centres facilitating needy people for cash transfers.
“Today saw the launch of the biggest cash distribution by any government in Pakistan’s history, directly to the most vulnerable and needy citizens in our society,” the PM tweeted.
This is a great achievement of our govt to transfer cash to the needy in our society on such a massive scale across the country. Rs 144 billion will be distributed amongst 12 million families over the next two weeks.
He added, “Today saw the launch of the biggest cash distribution by any govt in Pak’s history, directly to the most vulnerable & needy citizens in our society.
Today saw the launch of the biggest cash distribution by any govt in Pak’s history, directly to the most vulnerable & needy citizens in our society. – TLTP, NNI

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