Imran rejects option of imposing another lockdown

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has rejected an option of imposing another lockdown in the country which has so far reported 91,891 COVID-19 cases, with 1,905 deaths.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, he said the country could not afford to go back to lockdown and urged people to follow the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) for curbing the spread of deadly coronavirus, reports Dawn news.

Khan said the government was preparing the budget for financial year 2020-21 in a way to generate more revenue and cut expenses as a shortfall of 800 billion PKR in total tax collection had already been witnessed due to the pandemic.

Endorsing his decision not to impose another lockdown, Khan said that the countries still witnessing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases were compelled to lift lockdowns.

“What these countries had gained from strict lockdown? Their people lost jobs, poverty increased while cases of coronavirus continued to increase there,” he added.

However, he said the government would impose smart lockdown whereever required and for which Corona Relief Tiger Force would be used to provide assistance to the people.

“It is important for you (Tiger Force volunteers) to ensure that people follow SOPs because we can’t go back to another lockdown as the country can’t afford it,” Dawn news quoted Khan as saying, adding that if the virus curve was slowed down by following SOPs, it would reduce pressure on hospitals.

The prime minister said the government had reopened industries to provide jobs and work opportunities to daily wage earners.

“The purpose of reopening industries was to help the vulnerable. A lockdown for (the privileged) is not a problem, but it is a problem for the working class,” he added.