Pay no heed to online rumours about COVID-19: PM Imran
Imran Khan hopes country will emerge as a great nation after defeating virus
LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged citizens to not pay any heed to social media rumours about Covid-19 and stressed the need for taking precautionary measures against the rapidly spreading disease.
“I often come across stories on the social media that Allah has made Pakistanis in a way that they were immune and won’t be affected by coronavirus. Please don’t be foolish and believe in such stories,” he said at the inauguration ceremony of the Prime Minister's Corona Relief Fund at the Governor’s House in Lahore.
The premier pointed out that giant economies which had far greater resources and institutions than Pakistan were struggling to deal with the global pandemic.
“They have health systems which receive more funding than what Pakistan spends on its entire population,” he noted.
He said the US government had announced a relief package of $2,000 billion to stimulate its economy in the wake of coronavirus outbreak and was still struggling.
“In comparison as per our available resources, Pakistan has given a relief package worth $8 billion, which is the biggest in the country’s history,” he said, adding that the package would be further enhanced when more resources became available.
"If you think you are immune, look at New York. Several rich people live there but look at what is happening there now."
The premier expressed hope that the country would come out through this tough situation and emerge as a great nation after winning the battle against the virus.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is a test for the nation which can be overcome through precautionary measures only,” he said.
“Pakistan will sail through this difficult situation successfully with the resolve and discipline of the nation.”
PM Imran explained that the country was facing the dual challenge of stemming the spread of the virus and preventing unemployment due to the partial lockdown which had crippled lives of 50 to 60 million people living under the poverty line.
“The situation is difficult due to the fact that no one across the world has the experience to cope with it.”
He said the government was gathering data to verify the eligibility of the people for relief. “Transparency and merit will be strictly observed in distribution of cash among the deserving,” he added.
He said the Facebook page of the Ehsas programme would be launched next week to provide the data of the areas where people were in dire need of ration.
He pointed out that the government had exempted the construction and agriculture sectors from the lockdown to enable people to earn their livelihoods.
Earlier, the premier visited a 1,000-bed field hospital set up at the Lahore Expo Centre and inspected various sections. Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid briefed the prime minister about facilities available at the facility.
Addressing while addressing a ceremony of the Corona Relief Tiger Force, the prime minister said tough times were ahead. “In every difficult time, some people emerge [as successful] while some vanish. The same is going to happen to you. The ones who will stand by their people at this time, I assure you, people will stick by them,” he added.
The prime minister recalled his experience of playing the toughest-ever world cricket series comprising three teams based on the top cricketers from around the world which helped some cricketers emerge while filtered many others. He advised the parliamentarians and party workers to stand by their people in this tough time if they wanted their support in the future.
“No one knows what will happen in future. We must prepare for the worst. We don't know when it [viral outbreak] will end, whether or not it will resurface like flu viruses. This is unknown. We are heading into an unchartered territory," he remarked.
He said it was the opportunity for the party’s parliamentarians to secure their constituencies.
“There is no holiday [in this cause]; neither Saturday, nor Sunday. This is a constant struggle.”
The Punjab governor explained the mechanism for the functioning of the tiger force, which would have an expansive relief network up to the union council level. He suggested that the workers of the Rescue 1122 could also be engaged for ration distribution beside the police and district administrations.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also called on the prime minister and briefed him about the ongoing measures to contain the coronavirus spread in the province. He also informed the premier about relief measures to mitigate the negative impact of the lockdown.