Islamabad, May 1 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the death rate in the country from the novel coronavirus was “lower than feared”, even though the number of cases has increased to 16,353, with 361 deaths.

Addressing a news briefing along with his aides here on Thursday, the premier added that he had “thought that our intensive care units (ICUs) would be filled by now but that is not the case”, Dawn news reported.

Echoing his remarks, the Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar assured that the country’s coronavirus situation was “not out of control”.

“It is true that we have a big number of cases and deaths. The number of deaths will increase in the coming days but our situation is not as bad as other countries,” he said.

He added that easing of the lockdown after May 9 depended on whether people were following the restrictions and social distancing measures.

“I urge you all to cooperate with the government (in following preventive measures) even more stringently than before.”

Faisal Sultan, the premier’s focal person on coronavirus, added that the government analysed global and local coronavirus trends before taking decisions.

Comparing Pakistan’s situation to neighbouring Iran which is one of the worst hit in the Middle East, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza said that Pakistan was “comparatively better off”, reports Dawn news.

Mirza said the government was “worried about medical workers” and would soon launch a programme for protection of medical staff working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Khan concluded by urging people to stay at home and observe social distancing when they went to mosques.

“This is a difficult time for our nation. If you don’t maintain social distancing and don’t follow preventive measures, we will all suffer,” he added.




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