ISLAMABAD, Jun 11 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said having witnessed the people ignoring the anti-COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), the government would get tough on the violators and warned of sealing all such premises leading to spread of the deadly coronavirus.

“So far we had not been much strict. But now will show inflexibility. We will take action through administration and the violators will have to face closure,” he warned the people in his televised address to the nation after chairing a high level meeting to discuss the COVID-19 situation as the country’s tally of confirmed cases crossed 119,000 with 2,356 deaths so far.

The prime minister said he would personally monitor the implementation of the SOPs and receive data from across the country.

He said the district administrations as well as the Corona Relief Tiger Force would observe and report the status of SOPs’ implementation at shops, shopping malls, mosques, katcheries (courts) and public transport.

The prime minister said all the workplaces or localities would be closed down if found spreading the deadly virus risking the people’s lives.

The announcement came after a sharp surge in the country’s tally of the confirmed cases following the easing of lockdown by the government ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr to revive the economic activity subject to the some precautions by the people as well as the traders.

The prime minister said the government would announce a special package for the healthcare workers keeping in view the immense stress they were undergoing in the prevailing situation.

He said though the number of deaths had increased, the score was luckily lower than the apprehensions and the majority of those died either had some preconditions or were old aged.

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He said the government would deploy data managers at the hospitals to report the status of facilities there to help it make the decisions accordingly.
He said having known the nature of virus, he had foretold the increase of confirmed cases and deaths.

“We knew it will happen and always said the deaths will increase with the spread of virus. We also knew with the easing of lockdown, the infections will grow,” the prime minister remarked.

He said from the opposition leaders’ statements, he got impression as they wanted more deaths to increase difficulties for the government and destabilize the economy.

Referring to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shehbaz Sharif without naming him, the prime minister said the opposition desired to conceal its corruption by pressuring the government in the prevailing situation as they had also done in the case of Kashmir issue.

Imran Khan spoke high of his team for making right analysis and projections after consultations with the provinces and medical experts, without succumbing to any pressure.

He said consequent to the government’s timely actions, including the distribution of around Rs 120 billion among 12 million families, Pakistan had averted the tough situation contrary to other countries, particularly India.

He said the poor people became the foremost casualty of the lockdown as the government had to simultaneously protect the people from the virus and poverty.

Apprising the nation of the consequences of strict lockdown in India, the prime minister quoted a survey that 84 percent of Indian households faced economic loss, 34pc would be unable to survive for more than a week without assistance and around 30 million youth had lost jobs.

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“We would also have faced similar circumstances. But we survived, because we had not imposed a strict lockdown, rather we opened the construction industry and gave away Rs 120 billion to the 12 million people,” he stated.

He said despite the strict lockdown, the coronavirus cases were fast increasing in India and their hospitals were also under immense pressure.

Reiterating his call for adhering to the precautions, the prime minister said only the nations, which would follow the guidelines, could avert tough times.
Imran Khan said from the very first day, he had been advocating for a smart lockdown as only and effective solution which was also being acknowledged by the world.

He said unfortunately, the country’s elite had ignored the health sector during the last 60 years.

He said the implementation of the SOPs was essential to save the lives of particularly the vulnerable groups like the patients of the blood pressure, diabetes or the old aged people.

Highlighting the government’s measures in anti-COVID operations, the prime minister said the number of testing laboratories had been increased from two to 107, testing capacity increased up to 1.2 million a month, and ventilators from 2,800 to 4,800 while 1,400 more were in pipeline.

Moreover, he said, the number of ICU (intensive care unit) beds had been increased from 600 to 1300 and the government would add 1,000 oxygen beds by June and as many a month later.

The prime minister said it was unfortunate to see the people ignoring the SOPs and believing in conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic, which would do nothing but spread the infections.