The federal government is giving the provinces very little support in the fight against the coronavirus, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said.
During a video interview on Sky News, the MNA said COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has caused the entire globe to scramble in its response. In the past five to 10 years, the world has moved away from multilateralism towards the much more popular nationalism, he said, pointing out US President Donald Trump’s scorn of the idea and imposition of sanctions.
Then we have India, which is one of the largest producers of pharmaceuticals being led by a nationalist, he said. This, he said, has led to a question whether there will be equitable and egalitarian response at a global level.
In Pakistan, the lockdown has had an immense effect on the people. “We’re playing a vehement and aggressive role in the opposition,” said Bilawal. “As soon as the coronavirus reached Pakistan’s shores we offered to set aside our differences to work with the federal government,” he said.
However, he lamented that the Centre was “slow to respond and apathetic,” with confusion and lack of coordination adding to the country’s problems and woes.
Everyone’s fear is that the health sector will become overwhelmed, he said. Pakistan, according to Bilawal, has 0.6 beds per 1,000 people, compared to Italy’s 3.4 and the UK’s 2.8. “And the health systems in these countries have already come under stress,” he said.
“That is why it is all the more important for Pakistan to make full use of the lockdown, to trace, track, locate and isolate individuals affected by this and drastically increase our health systems on war footings,” said the PPP head.
He called Pakistan’s a bottom up response, saying local and provincial governments had been responding with little help from the federal government. But we are still demanding support to increase our health capacity to fight the coronavirus, he said.