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Pakistan

Web Desk
March 30, 2020

PM Imran says faith, youth to help in battle against coronavirus

Pakistan

Web Desk
Mon, Mar 30, 2020
Prime Minister Imran  Khan addressing the nation on March 30, 2020. —  Geo News/Screengrab via The News

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday faith and the young population of Pakistan would play a crucial part in the battle against coronavirus.

In his address to the nation, PM Imran also announced the formation of a "Corona Relief Tigers Force" — an idea he had mentioned in his prior speech as well. The  force, he added, would aid the administration and the armed forces in containing the deadly virus. He said that a dedicated cell at the Prime Minister's Office was monitoring the spread of the virus.

He said the relief force would provide food to people at their homes across the country and educate them on the safety precautions against the COVID-19 virus.

The premier said that the whole country was fighting the war against the coronavirus but China had emerged as the most successful country in containing the pandemic.

PM Imran said that China had locked down Wuhan to contain the virus. "Had Pakistan's situation been similar to China's, I would have ordered a lockdown in our cities as well," he said.

The prime minister said that 25% of Pakistan's population were the poor who couldn't afford two meals a day. He said that if the government was unable to look after the unemployed, then the lockdown will not be successful.

"This disease does not differentiate between the poor and the rich," he said, citing the example of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who contracted the infection as well.

The prime minister said that resources were not merely enough to win the war against the pandemic. "India decided to impose a countrywide lockdown. Today, their prime minister issued an apology to the nation for ordering a lockdown without proper planning," he added.

The prime minister compared the relief package of the United States with Pakistan, saying that there was no comparison between the two. "I announced a relief package of $8bn and the US announced a $2,000bn," he said.

'Prime Minister Corona Relief Fund'

The premier said that people were treating coronavirus patients like 'criminals' and reiterated that only the old and the weak needed to be hospitalised in case they contracted the infection.

"Only three to four percent of the people need to be hospitalised when they contract the coronavirus," he said. "The rest need to self-quarantine to get better."

He said that the government was opening a "Prime Minister Corona Relief Fund" account which will help aid people affected by the pandemic. PM Imran said that the account will be opened in the National Bank of Pakistan.

He called on the people to donate generously and said that no questions will be asked about the sources of the funds. "For those who deposit money in this account, the government will provide them tax relief," said PM Imran.

PM Imran said that the State Bank of Pakistan will provide loans on concessions to businesses that do not lay off employees as long as the crisis persists.

PM Imran warns hoarders of 'strict action'

The prime minister said that when people hoarded products, their prices increased and as a result, the poor were left out.

PM Imran warned people from increasing prices artificially to earn profit. "Those who want to make money from the hunger of the poor, the state will take strict action against you. The state will make an example out of you," he added.

He cited the example of the Ansar and Muhajireen from Islamic history and urged masses to unite to "defeat hoarders and create the spirit that will win the war against the coronavirus."

He said that the government was opening an account with the name "Prime Minister Corona Relief Fund" which will help aid people affected by the pandemic. PM Imran said that the account will be opened in the National Bank of Pakistan.

He called on the people to donate generously to the account and said that no questions will be asked about the sources of the funds. "For those who deposit money in this account, the government will provide them tax relief," said PM Imran.

PM Imran urged people to demonstrate responsibility by practicing social distancing. "Remember, if you are not careful, you are putting the lives of others in danger as well as your own," he said.