Shahbaz says PTI govt ill-prepared to fight virus

Published March 19, 2020
Shahbaz Sharif also chided the government for its “failure” to provide virus testing kits to the public hospitals. — AFP/File
Shahbaz Sharif also chided the government for its “failure” to provide virus testing kits to the public hospitals. — AFP/File

LAHORE: PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif has questioned the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s logic for asking people not to go for coronavirus test, saying it shows Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team are ill-prepared to fight the pandemic.

“Asking the people not to go for coronavirus test shows the PTI government has no preparation for dealing with this outbreak. No sane person can ask the people for such thing. Imran appealed to the people [to not to go for test] because he knows that his government has not made any preparation in this regard. How certain measures will be taken if the government does not have the data of suspected patients,” Mr Sharif said in a statement from London that was issued here on Wednesday.

He said the Imran Khan government had a similar attitude towards addressing the economic woes and coronavirus. “Corona is also a deadly virus for the country’s economy,” he warned.

The opposition leader in the National Assembly also demanded investigation into the Taftan incident where hundreds of pilgrims coming from Iran were allegedly housed in poorly managed quarantine. “Criminal negligence was committed as they were kept like a herd which also led to spread of coronavirus,” he said.

Warns of economic implications of COVID-19

Sharif also chided the government for its “failure” to provide virus testing kits to the public hospitals. “Given the severe shortage of the COVID-19 testing kits and urgency to acquire them, Rule 42 (c) (v) of PPRA Rules provides for the option of direct contracting. There is no time to waste and no excuse for any further delay. It is time for action,” he lamented.

PML-N Punjab information secretary Ms Azma Bokhari said the Punjab government had been completely exposed in dealing with coronavirus by the DG Khan episode.

In a statement, she blamed the government for the virus spread alleging it kept the pilgrims in Taftan in a crowded place. “In a crowded place over 750 pilgrims were kept like prisoners who should have been quarantined,” she said and added the Supreme Court had also pinpointed negligence of the PTI government in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid on Wednesday launched an awareness campaign with regard to coronavirus in the city.

Speaking on the occasion, PML-Q MNA Moonis Elahi expressed the hope the nation would defeat COVID-19 by adopting preventive measures.

Mr Elahi lauded coronavirus awareness campaign launched by PML-Q workers and Eco-Friends and said the most important prevention against it was to clean hands. He said PML-Q was also starting awareness campaign on social media.

The drive emphasised on four preventive measures – cleaning hands several times a day, covering face with tissue paper or arm while sneezing or coughing, keeping distance with others and in case of fever, coughing or difficulty in breathing immediately contacting doctor or government helpline 1166 or 1033.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2020

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