'Live with the virus', says Pakistan prime minister after lifting lockdown

WION Web Team New Delhi Jun 02, 2020, 09.30 AM(IST)

File photo: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Pakistan has rolled back almost all shutdown measures, primarily to avert an economic meltdown. The country would open to tourism but cinemas, theatres and schools remain closed.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that people should learn living with COVID-19 by taking precautionary measures to avoid contracting it till its vaccine is made.

Citing economic losses to justify his government's decision to lift a coronavirus lockdown despite rising infections and deaths, Kahn urged people to act responsibly. 

Pakistan has rolled back almost all shutdown measures, primarily to avert an economic meltdown. The country would open to tourism but cinemas, theatres and schools remain closed.

The country has reported 72,160 novel coronavirus cases and 1,543 deaths, which jumped lately to as high as 80 a day.

Its economic losses included a decline in exports, a 30% shortfall in revenues and remittances were expected to fall in coming months, Reuters report said quoting Khan. With the fiscal deficit likely to rise as high as 9.4% and the revenue shortfall, Pakistan is facing a balance of payment crisis.

The country couldn't afford to match the losses incurred during the lockdown as many other countries had done, Khan said in a televised address.

He cited 50 million people who live below the poverty line and 25 million daily wagers.

Khan said his government gave cash handouts to the poor, which wasn't possible to continue on such a large scale, adding around 130 million to 150 million people were adversely affected by the shutdowns.

"Our conditions don't allow that we keep feeding money to them, how long we can give them money," Khan said.

"This virus will spread more. I have to say it with regret that there will be more deaths," Khan said. "If people do take care they can live with the virus."