Pakistan forms ‘Scientific Task Force’ on COVID-19

Pakistan forms ‘Scientific Task Force’ on COVID-19
Islamabad: The Ministry of Science and Technology on Tuesday formed a committee to conduct research on coronavirus vaccine and related matters.

Minister of S&T Chaudhry Fawad Hussain announced that the Scientific Task Force will be headed by renowned scientist Dr Atta ur Rehman.

The team will get assistance from international research institutions, he said, adding that Pakistan Science Foundation has also started research on the disease.

Members of the force include Prof. Dr. Javed Akram, Prof. Dr. Shazna Khalid, Prof Al Fareed Zafar, Prof Iqbal Chaudhry, Prof. Dr. Khalid Khan and Prof. Mariam Riaz Tarar.

The number of coronavirus cases has surged to 956 with Sindh worst affected province with 407 case. Punjab is at second position with 265 cases while KP has confirmed 78 cases.

There are 110 case in Balochistan, 15 cases in Islamabad and 81 cases in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan.

PM’s Relief Package

Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced an economic relief package to provide relief to public and business community amid coronavirus outbreak.

Addressing prominent media persons, the prime minister said that government was constantly evaluating the sitution. He also opposed the imposition of complete lockdown in the country.

The premier announced to decrease prices of petroleum pricces by Rs15 per litre.

He said that Rs200 billion has been allocated to provide relief to the labour community, adding that the government was also in contact with provinces to more facilitate those who unemployed due to the pandemic.

Tax refunds worth Rs 100 will be released to export and industry sector, he said, adding that Rs50 billion will be issued to utility stores to provide food items to public at subsidized prices.

The premier added that Rs150 billion will be distributed among poor families in four months.

He also opposed complete lockdown or curfew in the country, saying it will put burden on daily wagers. He said that transport in the country was not being halted as it would affect the supply system.

Talking about measures taken at provincial level, he said that provinces are independent to take decision after the 18th amendment.

“We have to take wise decision instead of creating anarchy in the country,” the premier said.

“We have to be prepared fully before imposing,” he said, adding that a volunteer forces will be required to assist administration for providing food to people at their doorstep.

He appreciated China for not sending a single coronavirus patient to Pakistan, adding that there was pressure on the government over students struck in Wuhan.