Lift lockdown in virus-hit Occupied Kashmir, Pakistan asks Modi

Dr Zafar urges Saarc nations to demonstrate calculated response to fight coronavirus

By: News Desk
Published: 07:02 PM, 15 Mar, 2020
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Prime Minister's Special Assistant on National Health Dr Zafar Mirza has asked India to lift lockdown of the Occupied Kashmir so that people there could get medical care in view of the spread of coronavirus.

He said, “It is a matter of concern that #COVID19 has been reported from Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and in view of the health emergency it is imperative that all lockdown in the disputed territory must be lifted immediately, opening up communications and movement to facilitate dissemination of information, allow distribution of medical supplies and enable containment and relief efforts to proceed unimpeded.”

Dr Zafar Mirza called upon the South Asian nations that a calm, calculated and deliberate response is need of the hour to fight coronavirus.

He was speaking at a video conference of SAARC countries to devise a joint strategy to protect people of the region from falling prey to COVID-19.

Stressing the need for prevention and caution, the Special Assistant strongly advised against panic. He said Pakistan was amongst the first few countries to undertake a joint evaluation of the state of preparedness to cope with health emergencies in the context of international health regulations 2005.

Dr Zafar Mirza said Pakistan diagnosed cases have been isolated and contacts are being traced proactively. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is personally overseeing these efforts.

Highlighting Pakistan's response strategy, the Special Assistant said it has four pillars, which include governance and financing, prevention, mitigation, and communication.

He said we have decided to close all our educational institutions for three weeks, entire western border for two weeks, restrict international flights to three airports only and ban all large public gatherings, reinforced screening measures at the airports and at the ground processing.

He informed the participants that the National Disaster Management Authority has been mandated and command and control centres have been established at federal and provincial level for effective coordination and surveillance at all levels.

 “Learn from SAARC observer states, especially China, where COVID-19 emerged first,” Dr Zafar asked the Saarc nations.

Pakistan representatives have also sought for the immediate lifting of the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that people receive appropriate medical care.