The Prime Minister’s supposed effort to reassure Pakistanis has solely served to additional issues in regards to the authorities’s priorities and skill to deal with the Covid-19 coronavirus. Even firstly, it appeared unsure what level he was making an attempt to make. “I want to tell all of you, this virus will spread,” was adopted by concern over the “state of panic” taking maintain of the nation. Whereas a lot of the world goes digital to make social distancing simpler, PM Imran Khan categorically dominated out closing workplaces. As an alternative, he tried to reassure people who the virus solely kills “four or five” per cent of people that catch it. The precise mortality fee is nearer to three%, although, it’s considerably larger for aged individuals. Given the truth that younger carriers are sometimes asymptomatic, in the event that they do get contaminated and return to the joint household properties the place most Pakistanis nonetheless stay, it’s their retiree mother and father who will endure the implications.
And whereas it’s true that “Pakistan’s situation is not the same as the US or Europe”, this is able to have been a golden alternative to start the much-hyped digital revolution via authorities help for companies that enable staff to work remotely. One other empty reassurance was about how he has informed Pakistani embassies to “fully assist” residents overseas. Maybe he didn’t recognise the irony of admitting how the federal government had determined to let Pakistani college students in Wuhan — the epicentre of the illness — fend for themselves after refusing to repatriate them.
In the meantime, provinces are being pressured to fend for themselves. On the identical day that the variety of confirmed circumstances in Sindh crossed 100, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah stated he’s making an attempt to extend coronavirus testing capability, and the federal government has closed all eating places and malls for 15 days. Intercity bus companies are additionally being suspended, whereas faculties and universities had been already closed. The federal government has additionally established a Rs3 billion coronavirus reduction fund. Sadly, the illness will preserve spreading, as a result of though avoiding it’s only a matter of staying clear, avoiding bodily contact, and social distancing, pushing and shoving in public is a nationwide pastime.
Printed in The Categorical Tribune, March 19th, 2020.
Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, observe @ETOpEd on Twitter to obtain all updates on all our day by day items.