We lack healthcare facilities, would be devastated if swamped by Covid-19: Imran Khan

Edited By: Nikhil Pandey WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Mar 17, 2020, 11:39 PM(IST)

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

Story highlights

Pakistan PM said that if a serious outbreak happens in the country, the government’s efforts to lift the economy out of near-collapse would begin an unstoppable slide backwards.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed grave concerns over Covid-19 saying that it can destroy and devastate economies of developing countries.

He said the international community should be willing to waive off loans to these nations in case the situation worsens.

Also read: Restaurants in Karachi close dine-in option to encourage social distancing

In an interview, Khan said that he fears Pakistan won't be able to cope with a major outbreak, saying the country's health facilities would be overwhelmed and would lack resources.

Also read: Pakistan reports first coronavirus death in Lahore

"Clearly our health facilities in case we get swamped by it, our health facilities will not be able to cope, and it's just not Pakistan, I would imagine the same in India, in the subcontinent and Africans countries, you know if it spreads we will all have problems with the health facilities, we just don't have that much capability. We just don't have the resources," he said.

Also Read: Coronavirus cases surge to 184 in Pakistan; 150 reported in Sindh

Expressing fear over a severe economic fallout of Covid-19, Pakistan PM said that if a serious outbreak happens in the country, the government’s efforts to lift the economy out of near-collapse would begin an unstoppable slide backwards.

Also Read: Amid coronavirus outbreak, face masks disappear in Pakistan

"Because of the effects of the economic slowdown, my worry is poverty and hunger. That worries me much more right now, and for that, I think, you know the world community has to think of, some sort of debt write off for countries like us, which are very vulnerable, at least that will help us cope with it," Imran Khan, Pakistan prime minister.

He also called for an end to sanctions on Iran saying they were crippling the nation's ability to contain the spread of the virus.

So far 14,991 Iranians have tested positive and 853 have lost their lives.

Most of Pakistan's 120 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been traced back to Iran and all of the 21 Afghans who tested positive had travelled to Iran.

"I actually fear for what is happening in Iran too, because of the sanctions already have, you know impoverished Iran, on top of this virus, so that should be a classic example of a place where at least now sanctions should be lifted, because they are in a terrible state right now," Imran added.

The coronavirus pandemic presents one of the biggest tests yet of Khan's leadership since he took office in 2018.

A full-blown health crisis will severely worsen the situation in the country which is already struggling on multiple fronts.

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