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Pakistan Starts Lifting Lockdown Amidst Increasing Coronavirus Cases

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that the lockdown will be lifted in phases starting from Saturday, 9th May. This announcement came on 7th May when the highest number of cases in a single day were reported in Pakistan, which were nearly 1500. There are a total of 25,837 cases in Pakistan with 594 reported deaths, right now. A decision of lifting lockdown in Pakistan in such circumstances is problematic.

According to the reports, PM Imran Khan mentioned that the government had to take this decision because a number of people in Pakistan cannot afford to live under lockdown. Khan was fully aware of the rising graph of coronavirus cases in Pakistan. Thousands of people are testing positive for COVID-19 after violating health and safety rules by travelling. At the time when there was need to tighten the lockdown the government is planning to end it.

Phases Of Lifting Lockdown In Pakistan

 Shops are restaurants will be re-opened immediately on 9th May. Then in the next phase, public transport including bus, train, auto, and private cabs will start their services on 15th May. Schools will begin to re-open on 15th Junly while shopping malls will remain closed till the next phase.

Shops will be opened at the time of Fajr (Almost Dawn) till 5PM in the evening. Other economic sectors like retail, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing would also re-open during the first phase. Reportedly, Out-Patient departments for many hospitals are going to be re-opened in case of illness treatment. The ideal way to go about that would have been to wait until the coronavirus vaccine or when curves starts flattening despite increase in test.

Reactions From the People

Most people criticized this decision on social media. Public health risk is increasing on a daily basis so lifting lockdown doesn’t make sense. Many people shared their reactions that shows why lockdown in Pakistan needs to be tightened instead of being eased in order to spin the economic wheel.

Poverty doesn’t mean to put public health at risk. How can Pakistan achieve economic growth if the most important factor of the economy i.e. people, start getting sick? A social worker of the AWP has bashed this decision as a capitalist approach. It relates more with political gains rather than social welfare.

Further the government representatives like Governor Sindh Imran Ismail has shared the self contradictory data in support of opening the economy.

The governor also stated that coronavirus was just like a flu while the pandemic has claimed more than 271,000 deaths worldwide  in just 5 months. 

An economist called out a mistake in Governor’s calculations and completely “buried” his whole understanding of the pandemic.

Coronavirus Deaths Are More Than Traffic Accidents

Many officials who are in support of lifting lockdown have been giving the examples traffic accidents as they think that deaths caused in that way are more than corona.

But a graphic analysis of data  shows that traffic accidents and other causes of deaths do not grow with an exponential rate like COVID-19. This is why the public concern is rising with the rising infections in the pandemic.

It can be said that the rationality of Sindh Governor is not working at optimum levels. He received serious backlash on social media for his outlook of the pandemic.

The musician and Goodwill Ambassador, Shehzad Roy sarcastically described the outcomes of lifting lockdown in Pakistan. Government expects people to follow SOPs in the outbreak whereas no one even bothers to clean their nearby areas.

This Decision Is Not Feasible Under The Circumstances

This decision contradicts the promise made by Prime Minister Imran Khan that Pakistan would be a welfare state. The government should have focused on delivering social security benefits to as many people as possible. Instead, the government is making human lives vulnerable to a highly contagious virus in favor of capitalistic economy. 

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