COVID-19: COAS asks people to be ‘responsible citizens’

Says public should follow guidelines laid down by govt officials, health departments to help combat the virus

News Desk March 21, 2020
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. PHOTO: ISPR/FILE

Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday urged the nation to act responsibly and take every precautionary measure to help in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

He also ordered stepping up military assistance to the civil administration to help contain the disease amid the rising number of cases.

“Let’s be responsible citizens at an individual level first and in turn assist authorities for safety and protection at a collective level,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

Gen Qamar underscored that protecting oneself was the foundation for the nation’s collective protection against the coronavirus.

He added that the government’s efforts against the disease could only be successful if the citizens took precautionary measures themselves.

“It is the job of every Pakistani to listen to the precautionary measures put out by the government and the health department.”

The army chief said no danger could shake the resolve of a responsible and determined nation, citing the example of how China had tackled the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The Pakistan Army, as a part of the national effort, will also be responsible. We, the Pakistan Army, believe it is our duty to protect the nation.”

Earlier this week, the army chief had instructed all formations of the Pakistan Army to reach out to the civil administration at district and tehsil levels in their respective domains to handle the coronavirus crisis.

“The armed forces are utilising all resources to cooperate with the local administration to counter the pandemic,” Major General Babar Iftikhar, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said at a news conference on Thursday.

“The armed forces are in action from the day one for implementing the decisions made by the National Security Committee and directives issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he added.

Maj Gen Iftikhar further said scientists under the supervision of the Pakistan Army were busy researching and manufacturing personal protection equipment, such as facemasks and hand sanitisers.

In addition, the chief military spokesperson continued, a “medical plan of action” had been compiled under the supervision of the surgeon general of the army to support the efforts to fight against the disease.

“Also, all medical facilities of the armed forces have been geared up, and measures are being taken to make them available for extreme emergency situation,” he said, adding that only elective surgeries were being performed at these institutions so that they could be used during emergencies.

The armed forces are also assisting the civil administration with the security and management of various quarantine camps set up across the country.

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