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The government is taking all the measures to get a vaccine for Pakistan as soon as possible but in the mean time people should remain careful and follow SOPs, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, he said that statistics have proven that the policies implemented by the government to curb the coronavirus spread have been successful.

“When the second wave of the virus took over, we immediately identified the sectors that contributed most to the spread: restaurants, wedding halls and schools,” the minister said. “We took the decision to close these three sectors and the results are in front of you.”

Umar pointed out that in the first week of the second wave starting from November 30, the number of cases across Pakistan were rapidly increasing. “From January 7, we saw that the number of patients in the hospitals has gone down.”

In the second week of December, 2,511 people were admitted to the hospital and required oxygen, while over 300 were in critical care.

But after that, you see that the cases go down and people going to hospitals decrease. Why? Because the government was quick in taking steps to curb the virus, the minister pointed out.

Umar revealed that while the world was locked up in nationwide lockdowns, Pakistan opted for smart lockdowns to prevent losses for the economy.

Millions of people suffered in the nationwide lockdown

Over 50 million people in the country work on daily wages. “When the lockdown was initially imposed during the first wave, nearly 20 million people lost their jobs,” he said, adding that during the period, the economy suffered immensely.

This is why the government opted for smart lockdowns this time. “We kept industries such as construction open which helped 72% employees in the sector who had previously suffered.”

On the other hand, 47% residents used up all their savings to meet their expenses during the lockdown.

“The losses suffered by the nation could have been worse, but Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policies for industries and the health sector prevented these,” Umar remarked.

When is Pakistan getting the coronavirus vaccine?

“Pakistan is taking all the measures to get the vaccine as soon as possible,” the minister said, revealing that the country is in talks with China for the Sinopharm vaccine.

“We will give you a good news regarding it soon,” Umar said, adding that health workers will be the first ones to be injected as soon as the vaccine comes in.

“But until that time, you have to keep following SOPs and the precautionary measures given by the government,” he appealed to the public.

Umar said that throughout this time, with the help of residents, media and the government policies, Pakistan has been able to combat the virus successfully and shall continue to do so to prevent a third wave.

Abdul Gh Lone

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