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Coronavirus spread: Govt fails to convince masses to use protective steps


March 22, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government has failed in convincing the masses for adopting measures to protect from coronavirus since it has not been able in bringing credible doctors on front to explain the severity of the virus and instead its political faces are trying to pursue the people who lack esteem in the society due to their non-representative capacity.

Perhaps people don’t take them seriously. It has been pointed out by a prominent sociologist on condition of anonymity. “It indicates grave political crisis as chief executives of the country and provinces who had been claiming command of majority of the people despite repeated appeals couldn’t stop them from assembling and roaming about although it’s an extremely risky affair.

The massive support for the government position of media is also not working in the matter,” he maintained. The sociologist said that the face of Army’s coming in fore has provided credence to the efforts. The political administration that couldn’t live up to the expectations of the people, miserably failed in the biggest challenge of incumbent dispensation and for the reason the administration is trying to pass on the bug to each other in case of federal and provincial governments.

The economic fallout is likely to inconceivably grave for the economy of the country which was already in shambles. Meanwhile, a United Nations report has revealed that the Arab region could lose over 1.7 million jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and the service sector would be the most affected. It will have direct adverse impact on Pakistan’s economy because of lowering of remittances coming from the region. The area is losing jobs “at an alarming rate” due to the drastic measures adopted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the report issued by the Beirut-based Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

In the UN's first economic assessment to this area, the international organisation estimates that the Arab region's GDP will fall by at least $42 billion in 2020.

The loss could be higher due to low oil prices and the dramatic slowdown of economies caused by “the closure of public institutions and private sector enterprises starting mid-March," the assessment made in this regard warned.

The unemployment rate will increase by 1.2 percentage points, with the service sector as the most affected due to the social distancing, according to the report.

The coronavirus prompted a “significant decline” in oil prices, which cost the region "nearly $11 billion in net oil revenues between January and mid-March 2020", another report said, warning that the loss could increase over the upcoming weeks.

The decline of oil prices and stock markets around the world due to the novel virus led Saudi Arabia to ask OPEC to cut production by 1.5 million barrel per day when the existing deal ends by 31 March.

Russia opposed the proposal, triggering an oil pricing war between the two countries. Amid this war, Saudi Arabia has changed its stance and has been seeking prices fall. The World Bank warned that both falling oil prices and the coronavirus outbreak have left the Middle East and North Africa more exposed compared to other regions.

At least 17 Arab countries have reported confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Since the beginning of the month, the region's countries have implemented several measures such as flight suspensions, closure of public spaces and institutions and a curfew in extreme cases. Qatar is currently the most affected Middle Eastern country since it has reported 439 cases, followed by Bahrain--256.