British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner announced a £2.67 million health package for the country to fight coronavirus — a disease that has killed over 150,000 people worldwide.
Pakistan has recorded over 140 deaths but experts have voiced fear that the country of 215 million people could see a rapid and devastating increase due to its shortage of medical infrastructure and crowded cities.
Turner, in a video message on Twitter, said: "Today the UK is announcing health support of £2.67 million to Pakistan, to detect the virus, protect communities, and assist the most affected."
"This is an extraordinary situation as millions have been affected by coronavirus," he said.
The British envoy noted that the people around the world have changed their behaviours and conduct due to the virus — social distancing and precautionary measures.
"We are also repurposing DFID's(Department for International Development) work in Pakistan to help the most vulnerable," he said.
Turner expressed confidence in the country and said that Pakistan had the capability to cope and overcome the coronavirus crisis.
"Although we are socially distancing, we are coming together," he noted.
"We can count on friends in difficult times," Turner added.
The The IMF, a day earlier, approved the disbursement of US$1.386 billion to Pakistan under the Rapid Financing Instrument to address the economic impact of the coronavirus shock.
"While uncertainty remains high, the near-term economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to be significant, giving rise to large fiscal and external financing needs," the international lender said in a statement.
Worried about hurting an already weak economy, Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted a sweeping, nationwide lockdown but provinces have shuttered schools and companies.
"The domestic containment measures, coupled with the global downturn, are severely affecting growth and straining external financing," said Geoffrey Okamoto, the IMF’s first deputy managing director.
"This has created an urgent balance of payments need," he said.
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