Over the coming weeks Pyramid Temi Group will be publishing a series of updates from our regional hubs. The objective of the updates is to deliver informed comment and insight from our experts as to how a series of countries are addressing the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) emergency.
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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, we spoke with the Managing Director at Pyramid Temi Group’s local partner company in Pakistan to understand more about the current situation and which issues will become the most critical over the coming months.
Q: How is the population reacting to the spread of the virus?
A: The majority of the population is poverty stricken and cannot afford to survive without government support. They are being guided and educated through various forums about how to avoid the spread of the virus, advice includes practicing social distancing, the use of sanitizers and disinfectants, wearing face masks and using gloves. But due to a shortage of these necessities many people are still without the essentials and are possible carriers of the virus.
The first to implement full lockdown was the Sindh province, social distancing measures were also introduced and the local health sector educated people about various preventive measures as follows:
Respect social distancing;
Remain at home;
Increase the washing of hands with soap and sanitizer;
Use a mask when in close proximity to a suspected carrier or patient.
Q: Which system has been adopted by the provincial government?
A: The Chinese model.
Q: Would you agree that no one/single suits all and thus individual governments must devise their own specific strategies? Which factors define your country?
A: Every country should devise their own strategy to fight Covid-19. This will depend on the local culture, in our country the Government must play the leading role in controlling the spread of the virus instead of leaving it up to the public in accordance to their cultural practices.
Q: How are people reacting to your provincial government’s choice?
A: Section 144 has been imposed and there is a partial lockdown. Besides medical stores, clinics and hospitals, the grocery stores are allowed to remain open to provide food to the population during daytime hours. It was requested that movements within the city be restricted to essential business only, but the public is not taking it seriously and is defying the government’s strict orders to remain at home. The low income population is particularly badly affected with this lockdown order.
Q: Are people following government instructions?
A: Not really. Most of the people do not believe that they will become infected and are not taking precautionary measures. This may lead to a situation where government agencies will not be able to handle the consequences of ignoring social distancing.
Q: Please describe how the private sector is being affected by the present status.
A: All private businesses are directly affected due to lockdown as they have been ordered to remain closed for two weeks. To keep the company operations running people are doing their best to work from home but their ability to do so is limited. Presently aid is only available to poor families, support for a number of industrial and agricultural sectors has been announced but it is meager. The private security sector is unlikely to benefit from government support.
Q: Has the government enlisted the assistance of the private security sector?
A: The government has called for the assistance of various agencies including the Armed Forces, Rangers and Police but have not enlisted the assistance of the private security sector.
Q: What’s on your radar screen, do you have any particular fears or concerns?
A: More than 500 new cases have been reported in less than a week, this hints towards a catastrophe like the situation in Italy. The government is making every effort but cannot fight the virus alone and needs the cooperation of the citizens. The lockdown situation seems to persist due to more and more cases emerging every day. The government is requesting the citizens to cooperate and follow instruction, otherwise, the government would be left with no option but to impose curfews.
At this moment in time cooperation is crucial as the virus is spreading rapidly due to the careless nature of a considerable number of people. The lives of doctors, nurses and paramedic staff as well as law enforcers are at risk as they are on the frontline and dealing directly with people who have been diagnosed as having contracted COVID-19. A successful outcome depends on the people of Pakistan taking the situation seriously and practicing social distancing as well as strictly following the self-isolation scheme.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee. They are published in good faith and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PTG.