Vehicles run past the Centaurus mall in Islamabad, Pakistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

Experts suggest lifting lockdown in phases

Say abrupt end to restrictions can prove counterproductive

News Desk April 16, 2020
As the government introduces certain relaxations in its ongoing lockdown, imposed as a precaution against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), experts have suggested that it can be lifted in phases to assess and quickly address any negative outcome.

These views were expressed on Wednesday during an online conference on “Suggestive Measures for Lifting the Lockdown: What can be the Phases”, organised by the think tank, Centre for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS).

Chairing the conference, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Vice-Chancellor Nadeemul Haq said that the Covid-19 is a bigger war than 1965 and 1971, “but unfortunately, our response has been less than required.”

“We do not have any specialists. We need epidemiologist, virologist, and economists to devise a sound strategy,” he suggested

CGSS Advisory Board Member Air Marshal (retired) said that there is a need for devising long and mid-term policies on disease control while prioritising the health sector. He said innovation is needed to handle the pandemic.

CGSS Advisory Board Member Lt Gen (retired) Masood Aslam noted that the lockdown has to be eased to continue economic activities.

“Any reaction from the extremist elements to abruptly end the restrictions must be dealt with strictly otherwise easing of the lockdown will prove to be counterproductive,” he warned.

Other panellists stated that an announcement from the government to extend the lockdown needs further clarification.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2020.