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Pakistan Seeks Global Regime for Air Travel During Pandemic

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo. Courtesy PID

In meeting with WHO regional director, special assistant to the P.M. on Health claims Islamabad fully committed to curbing COVID-19

Pakistan on Thursday called for a global regime for air travel in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza telling World Health Organization (WHO) regional director Dr. Ahmed al-Mandhari that this would provide uniformity in global requirements for international travel.

Conducted via video-link, the meting between Mirza and al-Mandhari was organized to discuss Pakistan’s COVID-19 response and explore areas where WHO could provide technical guidance and support. Mirza was accompanied by Rana Muhammed Safdar, head of the National Emergency Operation Center, while al-Mandhari’s team comprised senior officials of WHO Regional Headquarters in Cairo.

Mirza told the WHO officials that Pakistan was fighting the coronavirus pandemic through a coordinated national response that included 543 “smart lockdowns” and 35 standard operating procedures for all walks of life to curb its spread.

“Pakistan is implementing smart lockdowns rather than a generalized lockdown as the prime minister was cognizant of the financial hardship for around 25 percent of the population living below poverty line. Strict action is being taken against those who do not adhere to the SOPs,” Mirza said, adding that Pakistan has ramped up its healthcare system to cater to critical cases. “We are ensuring better governance and strong coordination to implement our National Action Plan against COVID-19 in letter and spirit,” he added.

During the meeting, the special assistant sought WHO’s guidance for developing guidelines to ensure the upcoming Eidul Azha festival could proceed without hindrance. He specifically discussed cattle markets and the potential for greater transmission of virus through them.

He also claimed that Pakistan was fully committed to fighting the disease. “Prime Minister Imran Khan heads the National Coordination Committee with all provincial chief ministers as members,” he said.

Dr. Safdar, meanwhile, provided a detailed presentation on Pakistan’s National Action Plan on COVID-19, which was appreciated by the WHO regional director.

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