ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday took pride in his team for being amongst the first to enforce smart lockdowns in the country to control the spread of Covid-19.

Sharing a Bloomberg opinion piece on smart lockdowns being the future of Europe, on Twitter, the premier said he was proud of his team for helping him navigate through the Covid-19 crisis in the country.

He said that if Pakistan continued to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs), the country will successfully tackle the crisis.

The article says Germany, Italy and Portugal are betting on smaller, local shutdowns to prevent a new surge of coronavirus infections. Shortly afterwards, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari said PM Imran deserved praise for exhibiting excellent leadership.

“The world is realising smart lockdowns are the only way [to deal with coronavirus],” he wrote on Twitter, adding that the US and European countries were also implementing smart lockdowns “for its sustainable benefits”. Bukhari added that members of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), as well as the stakeholders, also deserved congratulations in this regard.

“Had it been any other government today, can’t even imagine disaster it would’ve been,” the special assistant underscored.

Earlier this month, the prime minister said that Pakistan was a poor country which could not afford a harsh lockdown, adding that ‘smart lockdown’ was the only solution.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi in recent past, he said that Pakistan managed to balance the situation like no other country. However, he added, that the country could only defeat Covid-19 by following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) recommended by the government.

Defending the federal government’s strategy on the pandemic, he stated that Pakistan was a poor country that could not afford a lockdown akin to Europe and the United States. “40 per cent of population of Karachi lives in katchi abadis (slums). We’re a poor country. We cannot afford such a harsh lockdown… we have to save people from both hunger and coronavirus,” he added.

Pakistan imposed a smart lockdown almost two weeks ago when COVID-19 cases in the country almost surged to the 150,000-mark. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) issued a list of 20 cities identified as COVID-19 hotspots across the country where smart lockdowns were imposed.