COVID-19: More Than 18 Million Pakistanis to Lose Jobs Due to Lockdown, Says Minister

More than 18 million Pakistanis have become jobless due to the lockdown imposed in the country to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, said Asad Uma, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms.

“According to [the] calculations of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), around 70 million of the country’s [population] could fall below the poverty line in the current perspective,” Asad Umar said in a televised press briefing in Islamabad. Also, he feared that due to the lockdown, more than one million small businesses could be shuttered forever.

Umar, who also chairs the National Command and Operation Centre on coronavirus, said keeping in view the growing number of deaths in the country, people should adopt strict protective measures against COVID-19.

526 COVID-19 deaths

According to the official tally, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 22,550 patients as of Wednesday, May 6, with 526 deaths, and 6,217 patients have recovered. “The average numbers and rate of infections are still far less when compared to the European countries and the United States,” said the minister.

International comparison

He pointed out that in Pakistan, the disease had not proved to be as widespread as in Europe and the US. Comparing the death rate of various countries in 46 days after 100 deaths, the minister said in Spain 414 people out of one million died while in Italy the number was 405; it was 256 in France, 248 in UK and 116 in US while in Pakistan only two corona patients died out of one million.

On average, he said as compared to Pakistan, the US had 58 per cent more deaths, UK had 124 per cent more deaths while Spain had 207 per cent more deaths.

Umar said there could be certain reasons behind low death rate in this region, adding that no one could claim to have completely eradicated the infection.

He said every country was trying to flatten the curve to control the disease to a certain level. The minister said that the NCOC would share all these analyses about coronavirus in the meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC), to be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“We do not follow the West blindly and the future decisions would also be taken according to our own ground realities,” he remarked.

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