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Wednesday Apr 01 2020

PML-N leaders criticise govt policy on coronavirus, promise a better plan

PML-N leaders (L-R) Musaddiq Malik, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal and Marriyum Aurangzeb pictured during a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday. — Geo News

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi promised on Wednesday that PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif will soon introduce a national action plan to counter the coronavirus epidemic. 

The senior PML-N leader made the statement while addressing a press conference along with other party members, where he said that it is the need of the hour to display national unity but the government’s behavior is not on the right track in response to the outbreak.

Abbasi said that the PML-N's action plan will comprise various aspects, but a nationwide lockdown remains the bedrock of its strategy for the prevention of virus spread.

There should also be awareness regarding prevention methods against the coronavirus, he said.

He said that the government had not paid much heed to the locking down of the country to thwart the threat, and termed it the biggest failure of the incumbent leadership.

“Practically, the entire Pakistan is under lockdown; some places more than the others… the prime minister just seems to be unaware of it,” he said.

Abbasi stressed on a unified policy across the country to battle the pandemic, saying economic activity should also continue.

He said that the action plan will also comprise medical preparation as the coronavirus is spreading more than 2.5% on a daily basis.

43% not following preventive measures: Ahsan Iqbal

As he took over, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal quoted a foreign publication as saying that 43% of all Pakistanis were not using any preventive measures against the coronavirus.

“We could not spread awareness among half of the population,” he regretted.

While criticizing the prime minister’s mantra, Iqbal said: “The nation should not be told to not panic: it should be told to panic”.

‘High-risk areas should be identified’

Mussadiq Malik said high-risk areas should be identified so preventive measures can be targeted at those areas.

“If there is no screening in poor countries such as Pakistan, then the total number of patients will never be known,” he said.

He cautioned that the next four weeks will be quite difficult, and that 100,000 people could likely get infect within a month’s time. Malik warned that if there is no national lockdown, the number could go up to the millions.

He said that there is an urgent need for field hospitals and mobile-screening vans. 

Pakistan's number of confirmed coronavirus cases crossed 2,000 on Wednesday, with 26 deaths.