KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) vice president and parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh said here on Tuesday that with unity and courage of the nation, “we will defeat the coronavirus”.

Speaking at a press conference in the committee room of the Sindh Assembly, Mr Sheikh, Opposition Leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi and other PTI leaders said the party’s MNAs and MPAs were with the people of Pakistan. They said the governments could not fight natural calamities, but the nations through their unity and courage faced and defeated them.

Mr Sheikh said the virus also spreads through mobile phones and people should disinfect screens of their mobile phones with alcohol. He said after the 18th Amendment, the health sector was the responsibility of provincial governments, but the federal government was playing its due role and extending all-out help to the provinces. He also requested the media to give awareness of this disease to the nation.

He said it was claimed that proper screening was not being done at Karachi airport. He said they visited the airport and saw that thermal scanners were installed and were properly working. He said the representatives of the provincial government were also present at the airport and any suspected patient would be handed to them.

‘People should disinfect screens of their mobile phones with alcohol’

Mr Sheikh said the federal government had given 1,540 kits to Sindh, 292 to the Aga Khan University Hospital, 240 to the Civil Hospital Karachi, and 96 to Dow Medical College Hospital, and more than 480 to the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences.

He said the NDMA chairman had already asked the chief minister that they would cater to all needs of the province. He said the Balochistan government had funds but it “mishandled” the issue. He said the federal government had already offered to set up quarantine centres. He said he had communicated with the NDMA chairman, provincial minister Nasir Shah, and adviser to the chief minister Murtaza Wahab.

He said the federal government was ensuring proper stock of edibles and daily use items. He said the Pakistan Baitul Mal was also there to help the needy. He said poor people and daily wagers were being affected by the spread of the virus.

The PTI leader said there was a capacity for 2,200 people at Taftan and people were kept in the Pakistan House. He said arrangements at Sukkur were good and they praised Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah for his efforts.

He said: “Our parliamentarians are on board and the federal government would provide all-out assistance.” He said the PTI in this difficult situation stood shoulder by shoulder with the people of Pakistan.

Opposition Leader in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi said: “We are facing the situation bravely as a nation. Whole world is affected with this virus. We have to learn from the experience of other countries. Hoarding and black marketing of goods are condemnable. We are ready to assist the Sindh government in every respect. The people as a precautionary measure should avoid shaking hands. We have also to take care of economic needs of poor people, especially daily wage workers.”

Hunaid Lakhani said many countries had already begun online teaching of their students. He said such applications and technologies are also present in Pakistan.

He said the Pakistan Baitul Mal would provide ration to the coronavirus affected families. “We will take full care of these people.”

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2020