New Delhi: Despite reporting its first casualty from the novel coronavirus disease, which has at least 191 confirmed cases in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the country is not in a position to opt for complete urban lockdown the way the West has been undertaking. In a televised speech, the prime minister said the authorities considered the plan already to contain the spread of the virus, but it has been ruled out as it could possibly ‘devastate’ Pakistan’s economy.

“The Pakistan situation is not the same as that of the US or Europe… 25 per cent of our population is living in grave poverty”, Khan said in a televised address to the nation.

“If we shut down the cities — people are already facing difficult circumstances — we will save them from corona at one end, but they will die from hunger on the other side,” Imran Khan said. Pakistan has, however, closed cricket stadiums, schools, colleges and universities, Khan noted.

“We will speak to the IMF because … we have to give relief to our industries and exporters,” he said.