ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has emphasised the need for using face masks and adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be ensured at all costs to avoid further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 here on Monday, the prime minister said that from the facts and figures ascertained from different countries, it was established that during the winter season, coronavirus infection could spread and stressed on the provincial governments to take steps in that regard and devise a strategy.

According to a press release issued by PM media wing, Imran Khan observed that they wanted to take timely decisions to control the second wave of coronavirus and save the nation from its further harms.

The meeting was apprised of the coronavirus situation, testing, ratio of its spread in different parts of the country and increasing number of cases at the global level. The meeting was told that at the international level, the number of corona affected patients had surged. Compared with those numbers, the coronavirus spread and its damages remained distinctly low in Pakistan due to the blessings of Allah Almighty, and the government’s efforts and effective strategy, it was added.

The meeting was further also informed that as per the last six weeks data, the coronavirus infection was spreading in the country. Smart lockdown was being enforced in different areas of Karachi, Islamabad, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

It was suggested that measures should be taken to limit all unnecessary activities, which were not related to certain basic requirements like economy and education in order to control the second wave of coronavirus.

A suggestion regarding restriction on public gatherings was also presented in the meeting.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday stressed the need for enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation with Australia in diverse fields.

In telephonic conversations with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, Imran Khan particularly mentioned the adverse economic impact of COVID-19 on the developing countries, for which he has also called for the Global Initiative on Debt Relief supported by Australia.

The two leaders discussed cricket, Covid-19, Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace process, global debt relief initiative and how both the countries can further enhance mutually beneficial cooperation during the conversation.

“With improved on-ground situation, cricket between the two sides could also be resumed as Covid-19 pandemic situation improves,” Prime Minister Imran Khan suggested while discussing bilateral matters and international issues of mutual interest. With the suggestion, Imran Khan extended an invitation to the Australian prime minister to visit Pakistan at an early date.

Prime Minister Imran Khan appreciated Australia’s impressive management of Covid-19 situation and highlighted the unprecedented global health and economic challenges posed by the pandemic.

He explained that his government’s emphasis had been on saving lives, securing livelihoods, and stimulating the economy.

“The ‘smart lockdown’ strategy and other measures taken by the government had led to significant containment of the pandemic in Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying.

While particularly highlighting the adverse economic impact of Covid-19 on the developing countries, Imran Khan also apprised his counterpart that he had called for the “Global Initiative on Debt Relief”, that is supported by Australia.

Expressing satisfaction at the level of bilateral relations between the two countries, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed that there existed huge potential for further enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse fields. He suggested resumption of cricket between the two sides when the Covid-19 situation improves.

In the regional context, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process and stressed that peace in Afghanistan was of paramount importance for the region and Pakistan. He also highlighted the potential for enhanced trade and increased regional connectivity among the dividends of peace in Afghanistan.

The official statement stated that PM Morrison shared his country’s efforts to manage Covid-19 pandemic. He also noted “Pakistan’s positive role in the Afghan peace process” and invited PM Imran to visit Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also noted Pakistan’s positive role in the Afghan peace process and invited Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Australia. Ends   

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday expressed the confidence that religious scholars will continue to play their pivotal role for promotion of Islamic values, meet the contemporary challenges and check sectarianism in the country.

Talking to prominent religious personalities from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa here on Monday, the Prime Minister stressed that it is important to project the social, cultural and religious values of society to meet the contemporary challenges. In this regard, the religious scholars have an important role.

He noted that the religious scholars have always fulfilled the responsibility of guiding the nation and the government in difficult times.

The Prime Minister was confident that the religious personalities will continue to support government’s efforts against COVID-19 and provide guidance to the people to stay safe from the pandemic.

Meanwhile, talking to a delegation of National Commission for Minorities headed by its Chairman Chela Ram Kewlani here Monday, Prime Minister said interfaith harmony is need of the hour.

He has called for collective efforts to foil the sordid designs of anti-state elements bent upon instigating chaos in the country under the garb of religion. He hoped that the National Commission for Minorities would play its role in this regard.

The Prime Minister said the government is committed to protect the constitutional and legal rights of the minorities’ community.