There is a growing concern in the business community regarding the lack of cash flow in Pakistani markets due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Despite the order by the government to practice a lockdown until the announced dates, the business community is interested in opening up their setups to avoid the setback they are going to experience in the following days.

While the Pakistani government gradually locked down areas due to a vast majority of variables, the division in phases did not imply the lack of seriousness of the issue in Pakistan. It only reinforced the information we all already have; Pakistan’s economy cannot afford a complete lockdown, nor can it survive mass infections due to its overburdened healthcare system. The government then, had little choice but to keep itself firmly entrenched in the middle; a partial shutdown with as many attempts to keep people at home as possible.

If businesses are to open up in the country before the viral infection dies down, there is a very high risk of an exponential spread of the virus in the population. The current statistics already point out a 20 percent growth rate of cases in Pakistan. In such an environment, it is important to follow guidelines in place to help prevent the contraction of the virus.

The government is trying its best to manage the situation with the resources it has. Just last week, a sum of Rs100 billion was released as tax refunds to industries. Business welfare is clearly a fundamental priority for the government and it is hoped that the private sector realises that. The strain on the economy together with the strain on the health system is not a situation that the country wants to be in, but this is where we are, and we can only make the best of what we have. This is why decisions are being taken as the situation develops. Committing resources to either of these causes will impact the other; it is important to not rush through any decisions at this time and assess trends in order to help improve the situation. Perhaps it is time all of us understood this.