Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the world cannot recover from the coronavirus pandemic until all the nations come together to find a holistic solution to the deadly disease.
Addressing a high-level virtual event of the United Nations on Financing for Development in Era of COVID-19 and beyond, Khan said COVID-19 is a global problem and requires worldwide efforts to tackle it.
“Unless the problem (COVID-19) is dealt with holistically as a global problem with global solutions, the world is not going to recover from this recession,” he said.
He said it was important that instead of becoming insular, the world should look at this whole issue globally.
Appreciating the efforts made by G20 countries to provide debt relief to developing countries, Khan said that the developed world with 1.5 billion people has resources but the developing world with a population of six billion people is struggling.
"If developed countries put their minds together and treat this as a global situation, I think we will all come out of it unscathed. Right now things look bleak, but if we treat it as a global issue the world will come out of it,” he said.
Pakistan on Thursday crossed the 61,000-mark with 2,076 new coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said.
As many as 36 more patients died of the deadly viral infection, bringing the total death toll in the country to 1,260.
Like many other nations Pakistan had also imposed a nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus but since earlier this month it started easing it in phases to bring in control its cash-strapped economy.
Khan said Pakistan imposed lockdown to limit social contacts in its bid to protect the population from coronavirus but it created another challenge of providing livelihoods to people to save them from hunger.
“The government gave a stimulus package equivalent to 8 billion dollars to provide financial help to daily wagers and people of lower income backgrounds,” he said, adding that it was meagre in comparison with assistance given by the US, Germany, Japan and other countries.
“The coronavirus has left bad imprints on global economy and Pakistan is also not immune to it…Our exports are badly hurt due to weak global demand,” he said.
Khan said the money that was to be spent on climate change and development program was diverted towards corona pandemic.
“In Pakistan's case, we have this huge, ambitious program of fighting climate change by planting 10 billion trees. All this money [was] diverted into dealing with the effects of the coronavirus lockdown,” he said.
Khan said that out of Pakistan’s 220 million population, almost 150 million are counted among the most vulnerable section, including daily wagers, weekly wagers, whose families are dependent on them and worse hit by the pandemic.
The debt vulnerability of developing countries was one of the six interlinked financial issues discussed at the high-level event.
Globally, coronavirus has infected 5,925,063 people and killed 363,177.