Pakistan Supreme Court orders shopping centers reopened
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Pakistan Supreme Court orders shopping centers reopened

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday ordered shopping centers and markets to reopen after declaring that COVID–19 is “not a pandemic in Pakistan.”

In the order, Chief Justice Galzar Ahmed warned against using all government resources to fight COVID–19 because doing so would be “highly detrimental to the people of Pakistan,” and would render the country “dysfunctional.”

The chief justice cited concerns over dwindling resources used to treat other diseases requiring urgent treatment, such as hepatitis, dengue and brain hemorrhages.

“We are not suggesting by any means that the governments should not attend to Coronavirus but we expect that the governments should not put all its resources for this one disease,” Ahmed noted.

Despite Pakistan’s 43,966 confirmed cases and 939 deaths since March, the federal government welcomed the Supreme Court decision.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has from day one been saying, and all of the measures we have taken, they are a continuation and they show clarity and a practical approach,” Information Minister, Shibli Faraz, said during a news conference. “You have to create a balance between lives and the economy.”

Pakistani health experts have challenged the government’s optimistic stance on easing preventative efforts. Instead, medical experts strongly recommend maintaining lockdown restrictions, advising that premature easing of lockdown could lead to another surge in COVID–19 cases that could have a devastating impact on Pakistan’s healthcare system.

For more on COVID-19, see our special coverage.