We have to live with Covid-19 this year: PM Imran defends decision to reopen economy

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Asks medical community to understand challenges govt is facing due to poverty in country

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday defended the government’s decision to ease the lockdown — imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan —, saying “We have to live with the virus this year”.

Addressing a press briefing in the federal capital, PM Imran said that he would like to especially address the medical community, because is he aware of how alarmed they were at the announcement of an ease in curbs, given the pressure it would create on medical facilities.

“I assure you my government has full realisation of what sort of pressures you must face, [given your profession and especially] with regard to your families and children,” he said, adding that it is important for the medical community to understand how a country tackles a problem of this magnitude, the choices it has to make, and the repercussions the decisions have on the whole society.

“If someone had told me with certainty that we need to keep the country locked down for three months and then we will defeat the virus. We could have done it. We would have dedicated all our resources to fighting it and would have tried to ensure food supplies to homes without volunteers.

“But all the medical experts in the world are saying there are no signs of a vaccine this year […] so this means the virus isn’t going anywhere,” said the premier.

He said the rationale behind a lockdown was to prevent the spread of the virus as it is highly contagious. “But will the virus end with a lockdown?”

The premier then spoke of countries where a second surge of the virus is being witnessed, such as China, South Korea, Singapore, and Germany.

“We have to live with this virus. This year we have to make do with the virus.”

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