Pakistan tops in Asia over social protection amid pandemic

UNICEF study overviews measures deployed by Asian countries in response to Covid-19 crisis


Our Correspondent October 05, 2020
Dr Sania Nishtar visits an Ehsaas Payment Centre in Nurpur Shahan. PHOTO: NNI/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) has acknowledged Pakistan as one of the top-ranked countries in Asia with the highest number of responses to social protection, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Monday.

Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar gave a briefing on the matter to Prime Minister Imran Khan at a meeting in Islamabad, according to the statement.

Though the data of Asian countries shown in a bar graph puts Afghanistan ahead of Pakistan, however, the former’s position has been linked with several external humanitarian interventions.

“Afghanistan included many humanitarian interventions, hence Pakistan tops the list,” says Marina Andrade, a researcher at IPC-IG team.

The study was conducted by UNICEF, United Nations and IPC-IG to assess social protection response in Asia focusing on an extensive mapping and overview of how social protection measures were deployed by the countries in Asia and the Pacific region in response to Covid-19 crisis.

There were at least 644 new coronavirus cases reported in Pakistan on Monday, taking the tally to 8,907, according to National command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

However, Pakistan has been largely able to successfully curb the contagious virus, which has so far claimed over 1,040,000 lives across the world.

Despite the success, Prime Minister Imran on Sunday cautioned the nation against a possible second wave of the pandemic in the coming winter, urging the people once again to wear protective face masks in public places.

"Compared to some other states, Allah has been kind to us in Pakistan and spared us the worst effects of Covid-19," the premier wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter on Sunday.

"[However] there is a fear [that the] onset of winter could result in a 2nd wave [of the contagious disease]. I urge everyone to wear face masks in public to avoid a spike," he added.

He also directed all offices and institutions to use face masks to help prevent the spread of the disease.

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