Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Tuesday that in order to combat the new coronavirus, the nationwide blockade continues and schools and public places will be closed within the next two weeks.
He said that certain industries such as the construction industry will be opened from tomorrow.
“We got to this decision with the consent of all the provincial chief secretaries and chief ministers,” he said, adding: “There is about an 89% consensus on which industries to reopen and which not to.”
He said that after the 18th Amendment, the provinces were given autonomy to make their own decisions in such matters. “If even now, provinces think they are not ready for this, it is up to them. The Centre will not impose its decision on them.”
Speaking of the government’s response to the virus so far, the premier said: “Owing to the restrictions we imposed, the way the virus should have spread, it did not. It only spread to an extent of 30% when compared to our projections.”
Prime Minister Imran stated that these predictions are based on trends observed globally.
“190 people should have died so far. We have less than half the number of deaths from the projected number,” he said.
The prime minister, while thanking everyone for taking precautions, warned everyone that we should still all be mindful that “this virus can spread rapidly at any time”.
“We need to continue to exercise caution., perhaps even more now (so we can keep the virus at bay).”
The premier said that even though things do not seem as dismal in the country right now “if the curve spikes up, our current health system will not be able to meet the challenge”.
He said that while one of the front lines the country is fighting is to contain the virus (the blockade against schools and public places has been extended for another two weeks), on the other hand is widespread unemployment due to restrictions.