The World Health Organization may have urged nations to “test, test, test” for the coronavirus, but Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in a speech to the nation appealed to people not to panic and rush to hospitals for testing. His statements have since drawn criticism on social media.
In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday night, Khan claimed that 97 per cent of those who test positive for the coronavirus will make a full recovery. Khan said that 90 per cent of people experience a mild illness similar to the flu and said only those with prior medical conditions and old age are at high risk.
Khan said that even if 4-5 per cent of coronavirus patients out of thousands get critically ill, it will be a huge burden for healthcare facilities. “Only the old and vulnerable are at risk and require proper medical attention,” he said.
Speaking about the situation in the US, Khan said, “Please don’t run to the hospitals for testing. USA is one of the strongest countries yet they don’t have the resources to test everyone for coronavirus. No country in the world has such resources or equipment where anyone coughing can be tested for coronavirus.”
Reiterating the ‘low fatality’ of the virus that has already killed over 7,000 people worldwide, Khan urged people to stay at home and observe their own symptoms for days before going to hospitals.
Watch the videos of the speech here:
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI addressed the nation on Corona Virus Pandemic. He explained the severity and fatality of the virus. He also highlighted who can be the most vulnerable to this virus. #PMImranKhan #CoronaVirusUpdates pic.twitter.com/OJuBjerH7F
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) March 17, 2020
Please don’t panic if you have flu or cough as it does not necessarily mean that you have contacted coronavirus. Moreover, 90% of the patients showing the symptoms recover easily. Only old & vulnerable are at risk & require proper medical attention. #CoronaVirusUpdates pic.twitter.com/bSOwjgx2OH
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) March 17, 2020
The address did not have the desired impact with many accusing the Pakistani prime minister of being “insensitive” and “downplaying the seriousness” of the pandemic. Pakistan presently has 237 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) March 17, 2020
The only way to contain this virus is aggressive testing. Only that can help break the chain bcoz 70% of the carriers are asymptomatic. WHO has also said “test test test”.
Someone tell chohan the biggest Azab pakistanis have got is this PM!
— Bariya Shah (@BariyaShah) March 18, 2020
You can’t quarantine properly, you say there are masks when even Islamabad chemists have run out, you are allowing congregation in mosques on Fridays when other Muslim countries have stopped this. You need to reassess people advising you and get your act together.
— SHANDANA (@Shandanajana) March 18, 2020
Welcome to the Islamic welfare state of the Prime Minister! Pls don’t test if you have symptoms because there is no capacity and we can’t be bothered to organise it !! 90% infected will survive (by the time you they 50 others !!). Can someone pls script him?!?
— Asad (@asadazfar) March 18, 2020
In other words our PM advising keep in your house till critical condition and infected whole family, once you feel dying then think about #CoronaInPakistan test 😬🙄
— Asim Raza (@Engrasimraza) March 18, 2020
Getting yourself tested over minor issues is really stupidity but not importing more kits and saying 90 percent recover is just insane. Those 90 percent can kill the infants and the old folks.
— Anis Chandio (@Pryda88) March 18, 2020
@ImranKhanPTI @zfrmrza If you don’t test all contacts of all confirmed then you will be allowing the virus to spread exponentially which will result in thousands of deaths overtime especially in small villages where people lack health facilities. #Coronavirus, #COVID19, #Pakistan
— SAJJAD ALTAF (@SajjadAltaf) March 17, 2020
PM @ImranKhanPTI‘s address to the nation on COVID-19 was rather under-whelming. Somewhat downplayed the situation, when the opposite is required. Plus, clear lack of coordination with Sindh which has most cases. Bodes ill for what is to follow.
— Waqas Aslam Rana (@WaqasAslamRana) March 17, 2020
Prime ministers speech was more like a mixture of a few whatsapp forwarded msgs n sm facts abt carona, hes absolutely clueless of what are we goin to do as a nation. No concrete steps to be implemented discussed. Gareeb bhook se ziada virus se mutassir hoga. #CoronavirusOutbreak
— Abdullah Sultan (@abdullahsultan) March 17, 2020
.@ImranKhanPTI failed to comprehensively cover health, economy and security related aspects of the pandemic. He seemed confused, clueless and worse, too casual; let alone be in a position to take nation into confidence, in a heavily edited recorded address.
— Danish Farid Khan (@KhanDanish_) March 17, 2020
You really 😞 disappointing me today
— Ejaz ali 🐎 (@Ejazali62494476) March 17, 2020
Please launch an app regarding #corona virus 🦠 where ppl can update themselves and their status if they have symptoms ? They they get themselves tests ? If the test is negative e or positive ? If they want healthcare facility ? Where they can locate nearest healthcare facility
— Zube (@Zube08014711) March 17, 2020
Commenting on calls to shut down cities to slow the spread of the disease, Khan said Pakistan can’t “afford” the response like European countries. “Our economic situation is very fragile. We cannot lock down the country like these countries,” he went on to say, adding: “If we lock down our cities, what will happen to the poor? Here, the people will die of hunger.”
Watch his full address here:
According to a Dawn report, the Pakistani government has contacted the relevant agencies of the United Nations and the World Bank for grants and assistance through quick disbursing windows for initial response to the disease and immediate relief as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday agreed not to consider expenditures to be made on deadly virus in deficit targets.
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