Pakistan PM says nation will win 'war' against coronavirus collectively

A man at Karachi’s electronic market watches speech of Prime minister Imran Khan to nation amid growing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, on March 17, 2020.(AN Photo by S.A Babar)
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Updated 18 March 2020

Pakistan PM says nation will win 'war' against coronavirus collectively

  • Urges citizens to avoid public gatherings, self quarantine if suspect symptoms
  • Warns businesses against price hike to capitalize on virus outbreak

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation 20 days after the first coronavirus case emerged in the South Asian nation on February 26 and said Pakistanis would face the outbreak as a nation and god willing win this ‘war.’
The total tally of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan is 195, health officials have said. There are no reported deaths as yet.
“We will face this together as a nation and god willing we will win this war,” Khan said.
He advised people to take precautions of their own accord as the government could not fight the virus outbreak alone and listed five practices for citizens to follow to fight the virus, asking them to avoid public gatherings, stop shaking hands, self-quarantine, only visit hospitals if symptoms became “extreme” and be cautious rather than panicked.
“Avoid going to gatherings of bigger than 40 people,” the PM said. “Don’t shake hands and wash them with soap.”
“Keep yourself isolated for a while,” he said to travelers coming into Pakistan.
“If you have a cold, a cough, it doesn’t mean that you have coronavirus,” Khan said, saying that even a developed country like the United States had shortages of coronavirus testing kits.
“It’s better if you stay home and follow yourself and rest [if you think you have symptoms]... Only people whose symptoms get extreme, only those people should go to hospital,” the prime minister said.
Finally he asked people not to be panicked but to instead be cautious: “Our Prophet [Muhammad peace be upon him] asks us to be careful. It’s important for everyone to take precautions.”
The prime minister also warned businesses of strict consequences if they unnecessarily raised prices of goods to capitalize on the coronavirus outbreak. He said the National Disaster Management Authority was in charge of tackling the operational side of the outbreak. He also said that over 900,000 people had been screened at Pakistani airports across the country and the country had an adequate supply of face masks.
The prime minister said he was not ordering shutting down cities completely because it would affect the poor worst.


General Bajwa, Bill Gates discuss Pakistan’s anti-polio campaign 

Updated 15 August 2020

General Bajwa, Bill Gates discuss Pakistan’s anti-polio campaign 

  • The American business tycoon praises the army for supporting the anti-polio drive and ensuring its reach and coverage 
  • The army chief passes on the credit to ‘grassroots workers’ 

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and American business tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates spoke on telephone about Pakistan’s COVID-19 response and resumption of anti-polio campaign, said an official handout prepared and circulated by the military’s public relations wing, ISPR, on Saturday.
Gates applauded the Pakistan Army for supporting the anti-polio drive and ensuring the program’s proper reach and coverage.
In response, the army chief said that the effort to make Pakistan polio-free was a “national cause,” adding that the credit for running an effective campaign went to “grassroots workers, including mobile teams, law enforcement agencies and healthcare representatives.”
The two also discussed how to carry out a safe anti-polio drive for everyone amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“​Mr. Gates also appreciated Pakistan’s success against COVID-19 despite resource constraints,” said the statement. “The COAS attributed the success to a true national response executed through the mechanism of [National Command and Operation Center] which allowed optimization of resources.”
The American businessman reiterated the Gates Foundation’s ongoing commitment “to fight pandemics” around the world and to support Pakistan in its goals of ending polio and improving health for every child.