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Pakistan premier vows to fight coronavirus

In his address to nation, Imran Khan warns of spread of virus in country, if people do not ‘act responsibly’

Amir Latif   | 17.03.2020
Pakistan premier vows to fight coronavirus

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday pledged to fight the coronavirus and warned the nation of a possible spread of the virus in the country, if the people did not "act responsibly.”

"The virus will spread in the country as the countries with better facilities than us could not contain it. But there is no need to panic. Together we will face and live up to this challenge", Khan said in televised address to nation.

His address followed a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases, which reached 237 prompting authorities to close down schools, restaurants, parks, and other public places.

"The nation must not panic. Your government is closely monitoring the [coronavirus] situation", he maintained, urging the people to join hands with the government to battle the coronavirus.

Commenting on the reaction to the coronavirus situation around the world, Khan observed that Italy, the U.S. and England did not adopt the preemptive measures, which resulted in a sudden outbreak.

"They [U.S., Italy, and England] have reacted differently to the virus. But our conditions are different. We cannot afford the same response as European countries," he said.

"Our economic situation is very fragile. We cannot lock down the country like these countries," he went on to say, adding: "If we lock down our cities, what will happen to the poor? Here, the people will die of hunger."

Lauding China's efforts to contain the outbreak of the virus, Khan said his government was in touch with Beijing from the very first day, and would continue to benefit from its experience.

Fearing a sharp increase in prices of essential commodities in the wake of a high demand amid government measures, Khan said his government would go all out, and take every step to ensure the smooth availability of daily-use items.

"Almost all the industries across the world are collapsing. We will also have to face severe problems,” he said, cautioning that the global economic crunch would hit the country's textile, and other exports.

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