Pakistan emulates ‘Chinese model’ of social distancing

NEW DELHI: Pakistan has decided to emulate its all-weather ally China and to switch to the ‘Chinese model’ of enforcing strict social distancing measures at district and union council levels to contain Covid-19.

This was announced by the Pakistan government as it extended the ongoing restrictions for another two weeks until April 14 to contain the spread of the coronavirus. As on date there are more than 2,200 positive cases of Covid-19, including 32 deaths, in Pakistan.

However, videos of people violating the social distancing measures have gone viral, according to media reports in Pakistan. In this situation, the government is considering introducing stringent steps across the country, including the commercial hub of Karachi, Pakistani English daily Express Tribune reported.

While Pakistan has participated in Saarc video meets on containing Covid-19 in South Asia, it has not shown enthusiasm with every initiative that has been undertaken. Islamabad has also yet to contribute to the Saarc emergency fund.

Pakistan will be among the countries which will be hit the hardest by the economic shockwaves caused by the crisis that has shaken the world and will need a support package of up to $2.5 trillion to cope with the damage, a United Nations report has predicted.

A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), released earlier this week, said Pakistan, Argentina and the Sub-Saharan African countries would face a “frightening combination” of crises, including mounting debt, a potential deflationary spiral as well as a disastrous impact on the health sector.

Their economies will take “enormous hit” from high capital outflows, lost export earnings due to falling commodity prices and currency depreciations, with an overall impact likely worse than the 2008 economic crisis, the report said.

The figures in the report, titled ‘The Covid-19 Shock to Developing Countries’, echoed an earlier estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The measures that developing countries need would include a $1 trillion liquidity injection and a $1 trillion debt relief package. Another $500 million will be needed for emergency health services and related programmes, on top of capital controls, according to the report.

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