PM emphasises on implementation of SOPs amid corona

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasised on implementation of SOPs regarding control and preventive measures against coronavirus to protect lives of people.
The Prime Minister expressed these views while chairing a high-level meeting here on Thursday on COVID-19 situation. The Prime Minister said that Pakistani people face dual threats of lockdown as well as hunger and poverty. “We have to create a balance between hunger and measures to control the pandemic,” he added.
Imran Khan said that lockdown is an interim step and it is not a panacea for coronavirus. He said, “We have to make our decisions based on ground reality and situation of the people.”
Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza gave a detailed briefing to the meeting on statistics of coronavirus patients in the country, confirmed cases, geographical spread, number of tests and proportional increase in cases.
The demands of automobile sector, especially motorcycle manufacturers, and shopping malls association were also presented to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister reiterated that policy of the government regarding lockdown is very clear. He said all those sectors will be facilitated without putting the lives of people into danger that are associated with people from poor and white-collar class.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday chaired a meeting of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief ministers via video link to review coronavirus situation.
The meeting was also briefed over availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the doctors and paramedics and measures needed to improve health facilities in both the provinces.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that they had to create balance between avoiding hunger and coronavirus. “Lockdown is only a temporary measure to avoid coronavirus not a cure of it,” he said adding that they had to take decisions keeping in view their ground realities.
He said that the shutdown of business has caused unbearable losses to the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday termed smuggling “a menace” for the Pakistani economy and said no compromise will be made in this regard.
Chairing a meeting on checking smuggling and about prices of essential commodities here, the Prime Minister directed all the departments concerned to submit report about actions against smuggling and the people involved in smuggling fortnightly.
The Prime Minister said that smuggling poses a grave danger to the nation’s food security, leading to stress and challenges for the common people when a shortage of basic necessities arose. “The menace also caused irreparable harm to the country’s industries,” he said. There would be no exception or compromise in action taken against smuggling, he added.
He also directed the relevant institutions – working on controlling smuggling and taking action against those involved in the crime – to present bimonthly reports in order to monitor progress on curbing the menace.
During the meeting, the provincial chief secretaries apprised the Premier on wheat production, harvesting, and the overall situation and briefed him in detail about the steps taken to bring down the prices.
Reports compiled by different provincial governments on action against hoarding and illegal profiteering were also presented to the PM. In addition, a detailed briefing was given to him on the provision of basic commodities to the public at controlled rates in the utility stores across Pakistan.
He said provision of the benefit of reduction in fuel prices to people should be ensured and asked the provincial governments to play an active role in this regard.
Separately, Industries and Production Minister Hammad Azhar briefed the Prime Minister on the possible reduction in the prices of cement, steel, and cooking oil.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan joined the ranks of 140 world leaders, past and present, who insisted on Thursday that any eventual COVID-19 vaccines and treatments should be made available to everyone, free of charge.
In a letter, the world the leaders have demanded that any vaccine should not be patented while the science should be shared between nations.
The World Health Assembly, the policy-setting body of the UN’s World Health Organisation, holds its annual general meeting next week. The signatories called on the WHA to rally behind the cause.
“Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge,” the letter said.
“The same applies for all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19.”
The letter was signed by Senegalese President Macky Sall and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Former presidents and prime ministers among the signatories included Shaukat Aziz, Jan Peter Balkenende, Jose Manuel Barroso, Gordon Brown, Helen Clark, Felipe Gonzalez, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Mary McAleese, Olusegun Obasanjo and Juan Manuel Santos.
The letter comes amid fury in France after pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said it would reserve first shipments of any COVID-19 vaccine for the United States.
The French multinational’s chief executive Paul Hudson said the United States would get first dibs because its government was helping to fund the vaccine research. His comments drew outrage Thursday from officials and health experts.
The letter ahead of the WHA said it was not the time to leave the task of resolving the pandemic to market forces or let the interests of wealthy companies and governments come before the need to save lives.
African Union Chairperson Ramaphosa said: “As the countries of Africa, we are resolute that the COVID-19 vaccine must be patent-free, rapidly made and distributed, and free for all.
“Nobody should be pushed to the back of the vaccine queue because of where they live or what they earn.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will participate in meeting to be organized under COVID Action Platform of World Economic Forum (WEF).
The foreign minister said this while chairing a video link meeting here on Thursday.
The minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will apprise the international community of Pakistan’s viewpoint while discussing corona pandemic, situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir and his debt relief proposal for weaker economies of the world.
He said that Pakistan is taking all out steps to stop the spread of corona pandemic in the country despite its limited resources. He said, “We have to stop the further spread of the disease as well as to come out of the economic crisis due to suspension of economic activities.” – TLTP, NNI

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