ISLAMABAD: The UK on Saturday announced the first in a series of measures to give wide-ranging support to help the poorest and most vulnerable people in Pakistan during the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, the British High Commission said the announcement would ensure £2.67 million for vital health support to help Pakistan give medical assistance to the seriously ill, build stronger systems to detect and test Covid-19 as well as support communities to have right information to protect themselves and others.
The commission also said it also provides £1 million for the rapid response aimed at controlling locusts in the affected areas of Pakistan which are causing a devastating impact on crops and livelihoods.
“The wider package of support which the UK will roll out over the coming weeks will repurpose the Department for International Development’s programme of assistance to ensure it helps those at risk and the most vulnerable, during the coronavirus response.”
The £2.67m funds announced by the UK on Saturday will help people in 27 districts across Pakistan. It comes alongside Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal to overseas diaspora to help raise fund for the Covid-19 response, and the UK’s support for Pakistan’s debt relief and loan postponements from the G20 group of countries.
High commission says £2.67m will help build stronger systems to detect and test Covid-19 in 27 districts across Pakistan
British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner said: “These are extraordinary times. Across the world millions of people are being affected by Covid-19. I am confident in Pakistan’s resilience and capability to defeat this pandemic. UK health support of £2.67 million will help the government of Pakistan detect Covid-19, protect communities and help those most affected. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in Pakistan at this difficult time.”
The UK announced a package of £200 million on April 12 to back UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries. It brings the total amount of UK aid committed to the global fight against coronavirus to £744 million, making the UK one of the biggest donors to the international response.
UK aid will fund a £2.67 million package to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help improve the preventive, testing and treatment services in 27 districts across Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spoke to the British high commissioner in an effort to share information about the coronavirus pandemic, and especially about British-Pakistani victims of the disease.
In a telephonic conversation, the PPP chairman said the Sindh government was the first in the country to have taken swift action by closing down educational institutions and subsequently initiating a strict lockdown after gauging the substantial threat.
Dr Turner appreciated the timely efforts taken by the Sindh government, and both stressed the need for global cooperation and coordination to save human lives from the deadly virus.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2020