Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that economic losses to justify his government’s decision to lift a coronavirus lockdown despite rising infections and deaths, urging people to “live with the virus.”
The country has reported 72,160 COVID-19 cases and 1,543 deaths, which jumped lately to as high as 80 a day.
In a televised address, PM Khan said that its economic losses included a decline in exports, a 30% shortfall in revenues and remittances were expected to fall in coming months.
Khan further said that the country couldn’t afford to match the losses incurred during the lockdown as many other countries had done.
He added that 50 million people who live below the poverty line and 25 million daily wagers.
“This virus will spread more. I have to say it with regret that there will be more deaths”, he said
“If people do take care they can live with the virus”, the Prime Minister noted.
Last week, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that although there were reports from some big metropolitan cities about pressure on certain hospitals due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, the overall situation and conditions in hospitals were “satisfactory”.
On May 16, Domestic flight operations resumed in Pakistan after a nearly two-month-long suspension.
Last month, PM Khan said that the government had decided to gradually ease the lockdown in the coming days, keeping in view the ground realities, especially the economic situation of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In April, the government extended the countrywide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic for 15 more days until May 9 amid doctors warnings against easing restrictions.
The country, despite its close proximity with China, remained coronavirus-free until February 26 when a young man from Karachi tested positive after returning from Iran — one of the worst-hit countries.
After a brief hiatus following the first case, COVID-19 cases spiked as more pilgrims returning from Iran tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, the total number of global coronavirus has increased to over 6.2 million, while the death toll has topped 375,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.