Pakistan to lift lockdown in phases from May 9, announces PM Imran

03:32 PM | 7 May, 2020
Pakistan to lift lockdown in phases from May 9, announces PM Imran

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday that process to easing partial lockdown restrictions across the country in phases will be started from coming Saturday (May 9).

Addressing a press briefing on coronavirus situation along with his team members, the prime minister said that the lockdown caused financial problems to people in Pakistan, besides affecting revenue generation in the country. Tax collection has slipped down by 35 per cent during this crisis, he said.

PM said that provinces have showed reservation over reopening of public transport, adding that resumption of this sector would provide employment to poor. 

Pakistan reported first coronavirus case in February and the government like other countries imposed partial lockdown to stem the spread of the infection through social distancing.

The prime minister said that he was concerned about daily wagers and poor when the lockdown was imposed in the country, adding: "We will now create ease for them".

Talking about the potential spread of the virus, he said that nothing can be predicted about when it will skyrocket, adding that people will have to cooperate with the government to control it. 

As the lockdown measures are being eased, public is required to follow the SOPs strictly in order to avoid the virus that has claimed over 500 lives in the country so far. 

The Prime Minister appealed the people to observe self-discipline and Standard Operating Procedure to prevent spread of Coronavirus pandemic, when curbs of lockdown are eased. He said we can again go for lockdown if Coronavirus cases increase in the country to beyond limits. He said social distancing and precautionary measures are prerequisites to avoid spread of the virus and a responsible society realizes this fact.

Prime Minister's Focal Person on COVID-19 Dr Faisal said undoubtedly, tally of corona cases has gone up in the country, which has put some pressure on our health system, but it should be clear that our health system has the capacity to handle the situation and we have yet not reached to a saturated point. Dr Faisal urged people to observe social distancing and SOPs recommended by the government for the containment of the pandemic.

Giving detail of the decision taken at the NCC, Planning Minister Asad Umar said small markets and shops in mohallas and rural areas will be allowed to open from Fajar to 5 p.m. He said the entire business, except outlets of essential items like food and medicines will remain closed in two days of the week.

Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar said it has been unanimously decided to open allied industries of the construction sector, which include paint and pipe mills, tiles, electrical and industry and hardware stores across Pakistan.

Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said educational institutions will remain closed till 15 July. He said all the board examinations have been cancelled and students will be promoted to the next class and they can get admission in colleges and universities on the basis of their previous result. For example, a student can get admission in a university on the basis of his 11th class result.

Prime Minister's Special Assistant on National Security Division Moeed Yousaf said all the stranded Pakistanis will be brought back. He said so far, 20,000 overseas Pakistanis have been brought back from various countries. He said 40,000 stranded Pakistanis will be brought back from 32 countries next week. He said we will be brought back 7500 stranded Pakistanis every week.