ISLAMABAD: The number of COVID-19 infections in Pakistan crossed 2,700 on Saturday, with Prime Minister Imran Khan saying that the government “was walking a tightrope having to balance between a lockdown and people dying of hunger”.
In Punjab, the cases numbered at 1,087, whereas Sindh had 830 cases. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have 372 and 175 cases, respectively. Islamabad and Azad Kashmir/Gilgit-Baltistan region have 75 and 204 cases, respectively.
So far, Pakistan has witnessed 43 COVID-related deaths, while recoveries are close 150.
In a series of tweets, the premier said that educational institutions, malls, marriage halls and restaurants have been shut, but in order to ensure the economy does not collapse, the agricultural sector and the construction sector will remain open.
“In the subcontinent, with a high rate of poverty, we are faced with the stark choice of having to balance between a lockdown necessary to slow down/prevent the spread of COVID19 & ensuring people don’t die of hunger & our economy doesn’t collapse. So we are walking a tightrope,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza asked the public not to consider projections about the rise in coronavirus infection being made by experts as “the last word”, saying they are only estimates.
The PM’s aide was apparently referring to a report submitted to the Supreme Court, which predicted the number of cases to surge to 50,000 at least by the end of this month.
“At this stage, it is uncertain whether these figures based on different scenarios and assumptions are true or not,” he said, adding that the government is keeping a close eye on the evolving situation.
He also stressed the need to rationally use personal protective equipment, saying such equipment including N95 masks should be used only by frontline healthcare workers.
Mirza also said that a large number of hand sanitisers being sold across the country is of “low quality”.
For sanitisers to be effective against viruses, they should have 70 per cent alcohol content while this is not the case with many products being sold, he told a press conference.