Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has expressed the optimism to collectively surmount the challenge posed by coronavirus.

He made the remarks in the Senate on Tuesday which is holding discussion on the situation arising out of Covid-19.

The Foreign Minister said the national strategy against the contagion has been chalked out after taking inputs from all the federating units. He said it is a national emergency and all the stakeholders will have to work collectively to defeat the virus which has engulfed the whole world.

He said the National Coordination Committee and National Command and Operation Center have been established to accommodate the inputs of the provinces.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the Prime Minister daily holds meetings and give directions to cope with the current situation. He asked the opposition parties not to do politics on the pandemic.

The foreign minister said we have to protect the people from Coronavirus, poverty and starvation. He said it will take time to flatten the curve of the virus. In this background, the question arises as to whether the country can sustain a prolonged lockdown.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said under expanded Ehsaas Program, twelve million deserving families are being provided with cash assistance. He said the funds in the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund will be used to support those who lost jobs due to the lockdown.

Participating in the discussion, PPP leader Sherry Rehman said national unity is need of the hour to deal with the unprecedented challenge posed by coronavirus. She said given the current situation, the focus of the next budget should be shifted to the safety and protection of the people.

Earlier, initiating discussion in Senate, Leader of Opposition Raja Zafar-ul-Haq said the federal and provincial governments should be on the same page to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

He opposed relaxation in lockdown saying it has led to increase in Covid-19 cases.

Prayers were also offered for the early recovery of those tested positive for COVID-19 including Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser.