Memos from Asia

Pakistan’s Fight Against COVID-19

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COVID 19, the global virus pandemic, has spread with alarming speed in the entire world.

Even more challenging is for the developing countries where hunger, poverty, and unemployment is prevalent.

Pakistan has fortunately seen reduced reported cases in the last few weeks by imposing its Smart Lockdown across the country.

Non local laborers and migrant workers queue outside SDM office Mendar Jammu and kasmir to get essentials for life sustaining during 21 days lockdown

But it is still too early to celebrate its victory against COVID 19.

Covid-19 has depicted the real image of the healthcare system

The pandemic poses a serious threat to the government and the weak health care system of the country.

The early lockdown has caused serious economic, health, and lifestyle issues to the citizens.

The Health experts across Pakistan have been asking for a strict lockdown from the start of the first reported cases.

Ehsaas program providing relief to the poor section of the society

The PM Imran Khan introduced the initiative of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash financial relief Program to address the financial needs of the vulnerable segments of society, such as day laborers and piece-rate workers.

Ehsaas Emergency Cash program has been launched on April 1, 2020. It provides cash assistance of Rs 12,000 monthly, to those rendered jobless amidst the lockdown.

This program has been proved successful in removing some obstacles for the poor, but COVID-19 has rendered many people jobless.

Pakistan’s unemployment rate is predicted to rise amid COVID-19 crisis

In the wake of the pandemic, thousands of daily wage earners faced drastic income losses.

The domestic workers have been rendered jobless, even many people refused to pay them their monthly salary, increasing their burdens.

Over a quarter of citizens have been fired or suspended from their jobs in various sectors.

Load shedding has made the quarantine worse for the Pakistanis

Load Shedding and power blackouts have become severe and are frequent in Pakistan.

Those who are even working from home are facing multiple challenges and difficulties in carrying out their duties from home.

Working from home is also not easy in Pakistan.

The power infrastructure remains so vulnerable that it cannot even withstand a very small amount of rain.

The education sector facing major challenges

In Pakistan, over 300,000 schools have been closed since March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Schools were initially scheduled to reopen on 15 July, but government officials have now said they will reopen on 15 September.

Not all households and students can afford cell phones and laptops in Pakistan.

Only one million school-age children have regular access to digital devices.

Even the internet connection is very poor in the rural and remote areas of the country.

About an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 are out-of-school in the country.

Many universities have been holding online classes, but they have not been proven effective for the students.

Over hundreds of students across Pakistan have protested against the government’s decision that universities hold online classes.

Poor internet services and sudden electricity shortages remain a major problem for teachers and students attending online classes.

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