World Economic Forum Acknowledged Pakistan Success against COVID 19 By Tahir Nazir

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In the recognition of Pakistan’ successful policies against COVID 19. World Economic forum announced Pakistan Strategy Day on November 25, 2020. WEF successfully organized an international event “Country Strategy Dialogue (CSD) on Pakistan”. This is endorsement of Pakistan’s brilliant strategy in a very challenging environment of COVID-19 and Economic Crisis. Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the CSD and participated in an interactive dialogue with WEF president Borges Brenden. The forum established that Pakistan’s COVID-19 infection numbers have remained very low for the last three months.

CSD is WEF’s signature platform for countries with rising economies and promising growth potential. CSD of the November 25, 2020 was the second such event organized by WEF for Pakistan in the year 2020. A CSD during PM Imran KhanVisit to Davos, Switzerland, for the WEF Annual meeting in January 2020 was widely attended by the global corporate sector.The second CSD by WEF within one year is a recognition of Pakistan’s positive economic trajectory and its commendable resilience to the myriad of challenges including the COVID pandemic.

Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19: A success story…

A developing country facing a mix of social, political and economic troubles. What happens when a pandemic hits such a country?The answer to this hypothetical question might not be very pleasing. However, how things have shaped for Pakistan in the real world is nothing short of a miracle. Under the spotlight today is Pakistan – a country that seems to be emerging victorious in its fight against COVID-19 – a pandemic that has brought even the likes of the United States nad other global powers.

How did Pakistan flatten the curve?

“Pakistan deployed their infrastructure built up over many years for polio to combat COVID-19. Community Health Workers who have been trained to go door to door vaccinating children for polio have been utilized for surveillance, contact tracing and care”.World Health Organization Director-General DrTedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus, praised Pakistan, among seven countries, saying their preparation and response offer lessons for the rest of the world.

Government of Pakistan, responded to the pandemic by strengthening response coordination, case management, disease surveillance, testing services in laboratories,strengthening health systems, community mobilization, sensitization, and empowerment to cope with the negative impact of the COVID-19. To mitigate the impact of the disruption of daily life, it has taken a number of initiatives, including a cash disbursement of $80 – $82 per month to 12 million families through the Pakistan Social Protection programme (Ehsaas).

Moreover, while other countries scratched their heads over the question of to open or not open the economy, Pakistan made a bold and rather interesting move to open the economy and enforce smart lockdowns. As the name suggests, it’s been quite smart really: lock down COVID-19 hotspots and let the rest follow SOPs (standard operating procedures). This was probably the only way the country could afford to tackle the situation, and it did.

 

 

Pakistan’s economy continues to move forward amid COVID-19…

As economies around the globe have remained under intense pressure owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pakistan’s economy has shown remarkable resilience to the pandemic, placing it in a strong position to rebound quickly from the shock

 

The country’s economic experts believed that despite the testing times, the national economy is heading towards the right direction as the government’s extensive measures have helped it move progressively on the adjustment path in a stabilization process.According to a recently released Asian Development Bank predicts that India’s GDP will shrink by fully 9% in the current fiscal year, compared with a contraction of 0.4% for Pakistan.

 

Why is Pakistan doing so much better than India?

South Asia is the most densely populated part of the world and also one of the poorest. With very low standards of healthcare, the region was seen as very high risk for the Covid-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, however, most countries have done well to contain the pandemic. With one exception: the largest country in the region, India.

 

India now has more than 4 million total cases, making it the country with the second highest number of cases. India outstrips other countries in the South Asia region, with a Covid-19 caseload that is 13 times that of Bangladesh and 15 times of Pakistan. India’s economy has also fared far worse.

 

India had the world’s harshest lockdown, Pakistan barely had one at all. In fact, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khanactively campaigned against the idea of a full lockdown, arguing that his country was too poor to afford one. “If we were like Italy, France, America or England, I would have locked Pakistan down completely”. “But our problem is that 25% of Pakistanis are below the poverty line. With this, not only did Pakistan avoid the hardship India’s economy went through but this lax lockdown might have, paradoxically, helped Pakistan better contain Covid-19.

India’s total lockdown tried to trap workers in the cities. The attempt, however, failed spectacularly. So massive was the migration from the cities, that somedescribedit as the biggest movement of people on foot since Partition. ”With no work, in India workers trickled back to the villages”. “But in Pakistan, the lockdown was so lax,workers still found work. And so there was barely any movement back to the villages”.India’s lockdown “itself became the source of the virus’s spread”. “By having people huddle together, infecting one another, and then having the same people travel hundreds of miles, the pandemic has been made much worse than it need have been.The fact that India’s lockdown saw cases surge, rather than drop, as well the spread of the pandemic intorural Indiatend to back up.

 

Pakistan has certainly won a couple of battles, but the war against this pandemic is far from over. Keeping the economy afloat while steering the country through a critical time is no mean feat.

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Disclaimer: World Economic Forum Acknowledged Pakistan Success against COVID 19 By Tahir Nazir - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view

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