Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

Resource-sharing key to combat pandemic

Experts call for understanding individual challenges

​ Our Correspondent May 21, 2020
ISLAMABAD: With the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) posing similar socio-economic challenges to all of Pakistan’s neighbours, there is a need for enhanced regional cooperation from sharing of expertise to resources to save millions from falling prey to the pandemic.

This was discussed during an online dialogue on ‘Rise of Coronavirus in Pakistan’s Neighboring Countries–the Challenges and Policy Responses’. The webinar had been organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Highlighting the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19, former Planning Commission member Dr Zubair Iqbal said that the pandemic has hit Afghanistan the worst given the lack of peace and stability in that country leaving very little room to provide any meaningful relief to the people.

On the other end of the spectrum is India, he said, which is also facing the dilemma of ‘lockdown or no lockdown’ because the provision of relief to a large segment of the population for a longer period is not possible.

Centre for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO) Chief Executive Officer Adnan Tabatabai briefed the participants on the pandemic’s impact in Iran. he said that all regional countries provided valuable support to Iran to come out of the grave crisis.

He conceded that the Iranian government failed to act when the pandemic first broke out due to complex bureaucratic responses. However, things started improving during April.

On imposing a lockdown, Tabatabai said that due to sanctions, the Iranian economy is too fragile to afford a lockdown, which is why it was necessary to keep communication pathways with China open as they serve as a lifeline to Iran’s economy.

The CARPO chief suggested that diplomatic channels should be used for the return of people who are stranded abroad while data amongst organisations need to be integrated.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2020.


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