Islamabad, May 16 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that people will have to mentally prepare themselves to “live with the virus” until there was a vaccine to treat COVID-19.
He made the remarks during a televised briefing on Friday, reports Dawn news.
“From here on out till the end of the year, make up your mind that you will have to live with corona… We will have to live with it until we have a vaccine,” he said.
“Lockdowns are meant to curb the spread of the virus but can they stop it?” he asked, adding that data from Wuhan, South Korea and Germany showed that cases spiked again after restrictions were lifted.
“I have been saying this since day one that we cannot implement the same lockdown that has been enforced in developed countries.”
The premier added that Pakistan’s coronavirus situation has not proceeded according to initial projections.
“We have not witnessed the same things that other countries have witnessed,” he said.
He also urged the nation to follow the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The premier also announced that cash handouts under the Prime Minister’s Coronavirus Relief Fund will begin from Monday.
The main objective of the fund is to help those who have become unemployed due to the virus, he said.
Also in the same briefing, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza said the government will make wearing face masks mandatory in public places, Dawn news reported.
“So far, the government has been recommending that people wear masks when visiting public places. However, we have now decided to make it mandatory as lockdowns have been eased.
“We will issue a notification in this regard,” he said.
Pakistan has so far reported 38,437 COVID-19 cases, with 822 deaths.