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Covid-19 not a pandemic here: Pak apex court orders lifting of all restrictions

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on May 20, 2020

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the administration to completely lift all restrictions from the country. The Pakistan Supreme Court believes that “apparently it (Covid-19) is not a pandemic in Pakistan,” Reuters reported.

The apex court further questioned why fighting it was “swallowing so much money,” even as Pakistan witnessed a surge in the number of coronavirus cases. Pakistan has reported 42,125 Covid-19 cases and 903 deaths.

The court ordered the resumption of shopping malls if health authorities do not object, and curbs to be lifted on businesses opening on the weekends.

“We find no reason why so much money is being spent on this Coronavirus (Covid-19), for that, Pakistan is not the country which is seriously affected by it,” the court order said.

Limited train services

The court order came as the country’s railway announced that it will resume limited train operations from May 20, and two of the four Pakistani provinces started opening public transport.

The order was issued using the supreme court’s broad authority to issue rulings “suo motu” - on its own motion - without waiting for a particular case to come before it.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the rise in cases has been lower than projected estimates. The country had earlier allowed reopening of retail markets under the phased manner of lifting the lockdown.

Doctors have criticized the reopening, expressing concern that the virus could quickly spread and overwhelm the health system.

“It will definitely lead to an increase in the number of cases, the number of critical cases. “We are concerned about the pressure that will come on the hospitals,” the secretary of Pakistan’s Young Doctors’ Association, Salman Kazmi, told Reuters this month.

The supreme court’s move came days before Eid al-Fitr holidays when retail markets are abuzz and customers flock to buy things related to the festivity.

Published on May 20, 2020

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