Pakistan’s P.M. says government taking all steps to protect country’s economy from impacts of coronavirus pandemic
Ensuring uninterrupted economic activity and protecting the common man’s employment during the coronavirus pandemic is the topmost priority of the government, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday.
Chairing a meeting to review preventative steps designed to protect Pakistan’s economy from any fallout caused by COVID-19, Khan said a comprehensive policy should be formulated to provide relief to the common man in case of any eventuality caused by the coronavirus outbreak. He said special care should be taken to ensure the abundant availability of all essential items and warned that anyone found hoarding or profiteering would face strict legal action.
Attended by senior officials, including Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar, National Food Security Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser to the P.M. on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the P.M. on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, the meeting discussed the state of Pakistan’s economy in light of the threat posed by COVID-19 to the global economy. The participants decided to establish an inter-ministerial committee headed by the finance adviser to keep a vigil on the country’s economy on daily basis and advise any necessary steps.
The prime minister also directed Azhar to engage the World Bank and other international institutions to seek aid for any possible adverse situation.
Separately on Monday, during a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on the coronavirus, P.M. Khan said the spread of COVID-19 could be effectively contained if people voluntarily adopted precautions without getting panicked.
Khan said the government was aware of the severity of the problem and would not hesitate to take action where required.
The meeting, which was attended by senior lawmakers as well as all four provinces’ chief minister via teleconferencing, discussed the overall progress on the implementation of the decisions taken by the National Security Committee, the existing challenges and the country’s future strategy.
The National Security Committee had directed closures of all educational institutions and a ban on large public gatherings as a means to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
During the NCC meeting, the prime minister stressed the need to inform the masses on the seriousness of the issue and create public awareness about the precautionary measures required. He said he would soon address the nation on the issue, adding that the Pakistani nation had bravely faced every ordeal in the past and, God willing, would tackle the coronavirus through national joint efforts.
Khan also reiterated his call for the people not to panic, but to instead face the crisis with national spirit.
Pakistan, on Monday, reported its highest single day rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with the national tally reaching 184 after pilgrims returning from Iran were retested and found infected. Globally, the virus has claimed over 6,500 lives with more than 170,000 people affected.