Govt pursuing holistic strategy to combat virus, not bound to follow WHO recommendation: Dr. Zafar

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on health, Dr. Zafar Mirza said that the government had adopted a holistic approach to deal with the coronavirus, that the recommendations by World Health Organisation (WHO) are based on only health-centric approach.

In a statement, SAPM maintained that the WHO was looking at the situation from the health lens only, while Pakistan’s ground realities suggest that the country may not afford a strict two-week lockdown as recommended by the international health organisation.

WHO had written letter to Pakistan recommending that the country imposes a strict two-week long lockdown in order to contain the spread of the virus.

Mirza said that the governent was pursuing a “holistic strategy to combat the coronavirus”. He added that a ministerial level meeting took place at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) every day in which the government with the help of experts “reviewed the disease data and trends very minutely and took a holistic view of the situation along with the provinces and developed recommendations”.

He further added that Pakistan was a low middle-income country where two thirds of the people were dependent on day-to-day earnings. “[The government] has made best sovereign decisions in the best interest of our people,” he said.

He added, however, that the government has to make “tough policy choices” to maintain the balance between lives and livelihoods.

“Although the lockdown had been eased, there was increased focus on enforcing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government to prevent the spread of the virus,” he added.