Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday apprised the Senate about the government strategy, being followed to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, in consultation with all federating units.

Briefing the House, which convened it session after a break of almost 68-days due to the virus outbreak, he said a clear national strategy was in place without any ‘confusion’ to stem the virus spread. “However, the government is ready to incorporate all positives input, given by the opposition parties in the Senate, into the national strategy,” he said.

Declaring the COVID-19 an ‘unprecedented challenge,’ he said the government formed National Coordination Committee (NCC), National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for taking collective decisions and effective implementations of the virus-preventive measures across the country.

Qureshi said all stakeholders including provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan, had representation in the NCC and NCOC and their suggestions were given due importance and incorporated in the national strategy.

The minister indicated that imposing lockdown was not a solution, but a part of the strategy to control the virus spread, and said “the complete solution is only to find the vaccine, which may take months, and even years.”

The foreign minister said the Parliament had to play its vital role in the present crisis as was done in parliamentary democracies. It should give its input to implement the national strategy on COVID-19, he added.

He noted that the challenge of coronavirus was unprecedented for Pakistan and the world.

Shah Mehmood said lockdown was not a proper solution to combat the COVID-19. The world would get rid of coronavirus when its cure or vaccine would be found in the next 18 to 20 months, while it was now trying to contain the disease.

He said no government in the world, even those of the most developed countries, was prepared to tackle the pandemic when it struck. Tens of thousands of people had died due to the disease in the United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, he added.

The minister said the number of deaths in Pakistan were low as compared to the world, while the infection rate was also low against the predictions.

He said when the pandemic started the National Coordination Committee, and the National Command and Operation Center immediately started meetings, received input from all the provinces and took collective decisions.

The National Command and Control Center, he said, met daily and took updates from the provinces with an objective to build consensus.