Islamabad: While ruling out a complete lockdown of the country, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday urged people to adopt social distancing as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking to senior journalists in Islamabad, he said practicing social distancing is very important to contain the virus, and the best thing people can do is self-quarantine instead of going to hospitals and burdening them. "Our people should limit their social gatherings for the next one or two months."
He said 4 to 5 percent of people may need hospitalization if virus spreads in the country which will put a strain on available medical resources, adding that even most developed countries of the world facing shortage of medical supplies during the outbreak.
The prime minister said that experiences of various countries, especially China, will be utilized to fight against the threat of coronavirus pandemic.
"Like China, we have to fight against this menace as a nation," he said, adding that Pakistan has been in contact with the Chinese government ever since the disease broke out, whereas authorities in Pakistan have been following guidelines provided by China.
Talking about the complete lockdown of the country, Khan said the government was not considering any lockdown yet as it will deeply effect the poor and weak groups in the society. Keeping economy afloat and people safe from the epidemic is the need of the hour, he added.
"We are going to provide incentives to construction industry to protect our lower and labor class against the coronavirus. We want people to exercise discipline, rather than lock downing the whole country."
The prime minister also urged media community to avoid sensationalism while reporting on the disease as it could lead to panic that might make the situation worse. "Responsible role of the media in creating awareness and preventing panic among masses is important."
According to the federal government statistics, there were 457 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pakistan so far.