ISLAMABAD                 -            Chairman Senate Standing Com­mittee on Interior Senator Reh­man Malik Thursday demanded of the government to impose coun­trywide curfew to prevent further spread of COVID-19 as mere lock­down is not the solution.

“The lockdown doesn’t ensure complete disconnection of the people but it’s only the curfew that can produce the desired re­sults,” said the PPP lawmaker in a statement.

Senator Malik said that the outbreak of coronavirus was an issue of national security and no one should do politics and blame-game over it.

Senator Rehman Malik pre­dicted that the situation would be worse in the coming weeks if further necessary preventive measures weren’t taken.

“We need to disconnect and isolate the coronavirus infected people from healthy people but just lockdown is not a solution to the problem,” he said.

The PPP senator reminded that as chairman, he had con­vened an emergency meeting of the interior committee on Feb­ruary 27 to advise the govern­ment to take timely preventive measures against the potential spread of coronavirus.

“I had urged the government to prepare a comprehensive Na­tional Action Plan against coro­navirus and take timely preven­tive and remedial measures.”

He said that the government was cautioned that the coro­navirus could spread in Paki­stan after its outbreak in Chi­na and Iran. The committee had issued instructions for set­ting up screening test and iso­lation centers at all the airports and other entry points besides suggesting that that every pas­senger should be tested and quarantined upon entering the country, he added.

Senator Rehman Malik said that the interior committee had prepared a 30-point plan con­taining preventive measures and had sent it to the feder­al and provincial governments to implement it to control pan­demic in the first phase before it spread countrywide. He also said that the situation would have been different and far bet­ter today, had the government taken timely action against the spread of disease soon after its outbreak in two neighbouring countries and had followed the committee’s suggestions.

Senator Malik said that he ac­tually had proposed to the gov­ernment to hand over the desig­nated civil hospitals to the Army Medical Corps. “A senior PPP col­league opposed and questioned why I have asked army for help,” he said adding that his response was that he had neither called for the imposition of martial law nor asked the Indian Army for help but the own Army Medical Corps to assist civil hospitals to combat this deadly disease col­lectively. He thanked Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa for extending full support to the civil hospitals.