Decision on extension in lockdown to be made on April 13: Asad Umar
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar.–File photo
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Wednesday said that any decision on extension in the lockdown would be made at a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on April 13.
It is pertinent to mention here that on April 1, the NCC had decided to extend the lockdown till April 14 to curb the spread of COVID-19 and cope with the impact of the pandemic.
Talking to a news channel, he said the meeting, to be headed by the prime minister and attended by chief ministers of all provinces, would decide the strategy to be implemented from April 15. Although the coronavirus situation in the country has not worsened like other countries, it does not mean Pakistan has overcome the crisis, he said. “The situation could get worse if preventive measures are not adopted,” he said, adding that the NCC was reviewing the situation on a daily basis to develop a strategy.
The minister said from the day one of the pandemic the federal government had been stressing the need to assess the situation keeping in view the economic and health risks. “We were criticised when we took the decision considering economic fallout of a complete lockdown across the country,” he said, adding that now the same critics were debating the feared unemployment triggered by the lockdown.
Asad Umar said the government had decided to allow operation of certain sectors under a pilot project. “Any decision on opening any sector will be made keeping in view the employment and income factors involved in it,” he said.
The minister said that guidelines were being issued for the sectors that were allowed to operate. “More guidelines will be given if other sectors are allowed to operate in future,” he said. He said the government had started disbursing Rs12,000 each to 12 million families at 17,000 points established across the country.