The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19, a disease which is caused by Coronavirus, a global pandemic following its rapid spread. The virus has affects in almost 213 countries/territories. Around 8,242,999 are the confirmed cases reported around the globe, which have resulted in nearly 445,535 deaths.(Updated: 19 June, 2020)
As of 18 June 2020, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in Pakistan have arisen to 163,177 with 3165 reported deaths all across the country. The federal and provincial governments of Pakistan have taken certain aggressive steps to contain the spread of the virus. These include the establishment of National Coordination Committee for Covid-19 to monitor the situation and necessary decisions on a daily basis.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is leading the operations and coordinatig with the provincial and district authorities for the necessary implementation of preventive and curative actions. To effectively screen travelers, Pakistan have allowed arrival and departure of international flights only at three airports – Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad – with enhanced safety measures.
Seaports operations are allowed with increased screening and surveillance measures. A ban have been imposed on the movement of people within the country. To limit the spread of Covid-19, no visitors are allowed in prisons for three weeks. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and provincial high courts have ordered the suspension of all proceedings except urgent matters and instructed that no cases should be scheduled in lower courts for the next five weeks. Additionally, a comprehensive food security plan is being devised by the Federal Governemnt to avoid any food shortages or hoarding in the coming weeks and months.
Challenges brought by the Covid-19 Pandemic have also outlined certain significant risk likely to be faced by international businesses operating in and out of Pakistan. As per the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report titled “The COVID -19 Shock to Developing Countries”, which states that Pakistan will be amongst the most hard-hit countries from the global economic losses coming as a result of covid-19. The report further states that the Developing nations, including Pakistan, will need a $2.5 trillion support package this year to face economic crisis. Their economies will take “enormous hit” from high capital outflows, lost export earnings due to falling commodity prices and currency depreciations, with an overall impact likely worse than the 2008 crisis.
This is not the first time that the world has been hit by a global pandemic. We have seen various outbreaks in the past, such as the plague in 1720, cholera in 1820 and the Spanish flu in the early 19th century. However, the intensity of COVID-19 is much greater than any of the others, which demeanors a great threat to the human race, and a hefty burden of responsibility on state governments.
The situation is changing rapidly as the federal and the provincial governments are taking aggressive measures to appropriately respond to COVID-19.
At Pakistan Centre for Law and Society (PCLS), we are carefully monitoring the situation as it evolves. Our experienced attorneys continue to provide uninterrupted service to cater the legal needs and assistance to our clients as to comply with the COVID-19 policy guidelines and notifications, while working remotely. If you have concerns or questions in respect of any issue or you are assessing your position in general, please seek counsel from us and we are ready to provide you all the required help and assistance to eliminate or mitigate any risks.
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