—Reduced testing doesn’t mean curve is flattening, PPP warns
KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday accused the federal government of putting the lives of people in danger by lowering Covid-19 testing capacity “on purpose”, and denied the claim that coronavirus cases in the country were going down.
Addressing a press conference here, Bilawal said Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers were “making a mockery” of themselves when they claimed that the graph of coronavirus cases was going down.
“If you stop testing, then the graph will [obviously] go down. But the same number of people will fall ill and die,” Bilawal said.
“They are putting the lives and the health of the people in danger. They are lowering testing capacity […] this is a conspiracy against the people, they’re not fooling anyone.”
The PPP chief claimed that Sindh was conducting the highest tests per capita and had the most intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) beds per capita.
“When the Centre was celebrating 100 days of battling the pandemic at the National Command and Control Centre, the Sindh health minister was inaugurating a 50-bed infectious diseases hospital in Karachi.”
Earlier in the day, PPP’s Central Information Secretary Nafisa Shah in a statement said that a reduction in the number of coronavirus tests being conducted by the Centre should not be taken to mean that coronavirus cases in the country are decreasing.
Shah claimed there were crowds lining up at the country’s hospitals and patients were facing difficulties. “People in the country have recovered but new cases are also emerging in large numbers.” she said.
She warned that the federal government taking credit for a reduction in the number of cases by reducing testing could “prove to be destructive” and alleged that the Centre was making “misleading statements” in front of the country and international community.
During his presser, Bilawal also claimed that despite being given limited funds by the Centre, his party’s government in Sindh had managed to provide relief to the people, frontline health workers and poor farmers affected by locusts by not allocating funds for new development schemes in the budget for the new fiscal year.
“The fiscal space that we created by doing this, we are spending it on protecting people’s lives and providing them support during these tough times.
“The same steps should have been taken in other provinces. The Centre should have paused the Public Sector Development Programme and used that fiscal space to save the people’s lives and health.”
He maintained that the PPP’s actions showed that it was committed to helping the people during this difficult time, claiming that Sindh was the only province offering free Covid-19 testing and treatment.
“If you need to get tested and don’t have the money, we will do it for free. If you can’t afford treatment for Covid-19, the government will provide it. We are the only province that has been doing this since day one.”
The PPP chairman also dedicated a part of today’s press conference to criticising the premier and the PTI for poor governance.
“The PTI has broken records of corruption. You can’t spell the word corruption without PTI,” he said, adding that government departments were being used to facilitate this.