Coronavirus crisis is increasing in Pakistan but the leader opens up tourism
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis is increasing in Pakistan with each new day. However, despite the situation, Prime Minister Imran Khan is overly focused on the economic angle. Therefore, the announcement that tourism is to open at such a critical time seems bizarre!
It is true that the economy is under enormous strain that pre-dates the administration of Khan. Indeed, like other nations including Iran, the military budget and foreign intrigues in Afghanistan have squandered the opportunity for greater economic restructuring. Similarly, the lack of accountability that blights so many nations also includes Pakistan.
Hence, the power of Islamic conservatives and the economic angle means that the coronavirus is being given the opportunity to spread even more. Thus the marginalized are caught between the need to work and survive – alongside the fear of catching coronavirus.
Currently, the death toll is approximately 1,700. This is low given the sizeable population of Pakistan. Yet, the fear is that the real death toll is much higher. Likewise, new coronavirus cases are on a sharp upward curve. Therefore, the situation looks set to deteriorate even further.
Voice of America reports, “Khan’s government has launched emergency relief programs, distributing cash grants among 12 million directly affected poverty-stricken families across Pakistan.”
Yet according to the prime minister, the economy is essential because of the dire reserves of Pakistan. Hence, Khan is implying that if economic measures are not taken, the government will no longer be able to support roughly 150 million people facing a dire situation.
He uttered, “Therefore, except for a few sectors, all other businesses are being opened, including the tourism sector.”
Dawn news reports, “Hospital staff are getting infected and dying; patients are being turned away because of lack of space. But instead of building healthcare capacity and mulling an effective way to curb transmission, the government is talking about tourism.”
Overall, the situation in Pakistan is critical and this notably applies to Sindh and Punjab. Similarly, many infections have been reported in Islamabad. However, given the situation where holy places are still open and most angles of the economy, the fear is that the coronavirus will further spread to other parts of Pakistan. Therefore, the situation looks extremely bleak!
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