ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday rejected the Sindh government’s recommendation to impose a “complete lockdown” across the country for two weeks.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had earlier said the government should impose a “complete lockdown” across the country for two weeks to stem the spread of the virus.
Reacting to his comments, the prime minister said Pakistan cannot afford a complete lockdown, adding that the measure would adversely impact daily wage earners across the country.
He said, for the time being, the government will impose smart lockdowns across the country, adding that it was imperative to exercise even more caution during the third wave of the coronavirus.
CM Murad had earlier said that a complete lockdown is needed in Pakistan to get a grip on the third wave of coronavirus.
“Do a lockdown or don’t do it, smart lockdown is nothing,” the chief minister had said while speaking to media in Islamabad.
The Sindh chief minister had told reporters that his government believes the centre should ban inter-city transport for two weeks as well. He added that the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic was “dangerous”.
“I have antibodies yet I am still afraid of corona[virus],” CM Murad had said, highlighting how dangerous the coronavirus infection is.
He had also slammed the ongoing countrywide vaccination policy, saying the government had failed to procure the vaccine and was instead relying on donations from China.
CM Murad’s statement came as Pakistan reported 4,757 cases and 78 deaths due to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
As per the NCOC, 43,965 tests were conducted across Pakistan out of which 4,757 were positive making the positivity ratio 10.8%.
Meanwhile, the national tally of positive cases has climbed to 667,957, with Sindh leading in the most number of cases with 265,433. Punjab has reported 220,392 cases, 87,055 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 57,833 in Islamabad, 19,557 in Balochistan, 12,663 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 5,024 in Gilgit Baltistan.
A week earlier, Planning Minister Asad Umar had categorically rejected any prospects of a “complete lockdown” being imposed across the country, saying the government will not undertake the move in a bid to protect people’s livelihoods.
“Complete lockdown is not the solution,” the minister had said. “We tried to explain that to people during the first wave [of the coronavirus] but they did not understand. You cannot shut down the entire country and steal people’s livelihoods,” he added.
Umar, however, had hinted at “targeted interventions”, saying that the government tries to take steps that would not affect people’s livelihoods.
The minister had said the NCOC had identified coronavirus hotspot areas to provincial governments. He had said the implementation of these smart lockdowns were not satisfactory.