People who think that Pakistan has defeated the coronavirus are mistaken, the virus is still here and it has a chance of spreading again if precautions are not taken, said Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar.
In a media briefing after the meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre on Tuesday, he said that 20 districts in the country were still under a smart lockdown, proving that the spread of the disease has been controlled but it hasn't been eradicated.
"In the last 24 hours, 15 people lost their lives due to the disease," the minister pointed out.
He stressed that although Pakistan has been successful in battling the pandemic, it's still important for people to keep following the coronavirus SOPs.
We saw crowds of people flock to the northern areas after tourism was resumed and most of them were violating all the COVID-19 precautionary measures, Umar said.
"We have instructed all the chief secretaries to especially keep a strict check on the new sectors that were reopened such as tourism and restaurants," he said, adding that strict action will be taken against the violators.
The minister said that people must do the following things to stay safe:
- Wear masks
- Practice social distancing
So far, the smart lockdown has been imposed in 2,350 districts across the country, but with the support of the people the number has been brought down dramatically, Umar said.
"The government never was in favour of a complete lockdown and today the world has appreciated Pakistan for bringing a steady decline to its rate of infections."
He revealed that when the lockdown was imposed, 40% of the country's revenues and exports fell leading to an economic crisis that affected daily wagers and businessmen the most.
"If the revenues and money don't come in, all development projects such as dams and motorway will come to a halt," Umar said.
He contended that compared to its neighbouring countries, Pakistan's coronavirus positivity ratio was very low. "India, Iran, and Bangladesh's ration has been 10 to 20 times greater than Pakistan."
"Today, where what we have achieved is only because of our true superheroes that are the citizens of the country," the minister said. This success can only be taken forward if we religiously keep following the SOPs and protect ourselves and others around us, he added.