Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar 23 (ANI): As several countries across the world including China, India and South Korea have gone under lockdowns to stall the spread of the coronavirus, imposing lockdown in Pakistan amid the crisis would cause "untold misery" to the multitudes that survive on daily wages or those with small businesses dependent on a steady income to make ends meet.
"Rapid transmission of COVID-19 has been checked in China and South Korea through lockdowns. Such a drastic step, given the realities of Pakistan, would cause untold misery to the multitudes that survive on daily wages or those with small businesses dependent on a steady income to make ends meet," according to an editorial by Dawn.
As cases in Pakistan continue to rise, experts are suggesting the government to impose a complete lockdown. The country has so far reported 873 confirmed cases of the deadly virus and six deaths.
However, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that state-imposed curfew is not possible in the country as one-fourth of its population is under the poverty line and survives on daily wages.
"A complete lockdown means imposing a curfew administered by state and army, forcing people to stay indoors. Our country's 25 per cent population lives below the poverty line and survives on daily wages. We are taking steps, keeping our on-ground status in mind," Pakistan Prime Minister's Office wrote on Twitter.
"However, there may come a point when the government decides it has no choice but to impose such a lockdown at least in some parts of the country. In any case, the closure of markets and schools -- places where hawkers tend to find customers -- has already begun to impact the poor. An intervention by the state is urgently required," the editorial said.
"In concert with provincial dispensations, the government must devise a streamlined plan of action that also co-opts the private sector -- including organisations already engaged in charitable work -- so that efforts are not replicated and equitable distribution of relief goods is ensured. Low-income families must be provided the wherewithal to make it through this unfolding nightmare," it added.
Sindh province reported 42 new coronavirus cases on Monday -- three in Karachi and 39 in Sukkur. The provincial tally is now 394.
There is a discrepancy between the numbers of confirmed cases released by the Control and Command Centre set up to deal with the crisis and those given by provincial governments, which are possibly more up to date.
The Pakistan daily, in its editorial, said that Sindh has shown itself to be commendably responsive to the multi-faceted challenge posed by COVID-19. However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has begun rolling out a coherent strategy.
While Sindh has shown itself to be commendably responsive to the multi-faceted challenge posed by COVID-19, and KP has begun rolling out a coherent strategy.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Punjab has now gone up to 246.
Meanwhile, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) so-called 'Prime Minister' Raja Farooq Haider announced that a complete lockdown will be imposed in the region for three weeks starting midnight on Monday.
"This is no time for politics or platitudes. It is a moment that calls for our leadership to rise above their differences and formulate a coordinated response that can make efficient and judicious use of available resources," the Dawn editorial stated. (ANI)