Pakistan Cabinet on Tuesday approved export of domestically manufactured Personal Protective Equipment and sanitizers amid a surge in the coronavirus cases, which has crossed the 76,000-mark in the country. Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a Cabinet meeting, which discussed the COVID-19 situation in the country.
"The cabinet has approved export of locally manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitisers and other safety items," according to a statement. Officials said Pakistan was importing PPEs when the pandemic started but launched campaign to utilise indigenous resources and achieved surplus.
The Cabinet set up a committee and authorised it to ban export of any item keeping in view domestic needs of the country. The COVID-19 cases in Pakistan reached 76,398 on Tuesday after 3,938 new infections were reported across the country, while the death toll due to the coronavirus has gone up to 1,621, according to the health ministry.
The Ministry of National Health Services said that 78 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of fatalities in Pakistan to 1,621. A total of 27,110 people have recovered, it said. Sindh has 29,647 patients, Punjab 27,850, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 10,485, Balochistan 4,514, Islamabad 2,893, Gilgit-Baltistan 738 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 271, it added. The authorities have conducted 577,974 tests, including 16,548 in the last 24 hours.
The jump in the number of cases comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that people should learn to live with COVID-19 until a vaccine is developed. Khan addressed the media after chairing the meeting of National Coordination Committee, the highest body to tackle the pandemic.
"Coronavirus will not go away until the vaccine is discovered. We need to learn to live with it and we can live with it if we follow precautions," he said. He said the one million volunteers of the government's coronavirus force will raise awareness of the need to follow guidelines.
The government also said that all sectors will be opened slowly after deciding the negative list of businesses which will not be allowed. Punjab province has announced that education institutions, marriage halls, restaurants, parks and cinemas would remain closed until June 15.
Other businesses will be open from 9am to 7pm on the weekdays. However, grocery shops and medical stores will be open throughout the week. Sindh province has allowed resumption of ride-hailing services in Karachi. Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah said only two passengers will be allowed in the vehicle but in case of an emergency, one more person may be allowed to ride.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cabinet was informed on Tuesday that current account deficit during this fiscal year was 3.3 billion dollars or 1.5 per cent of GDP. Prime Minister Khan chaired a cabinet meeting which discussed the economic situation in the country. The curtailing of deficit was an achievement as last year the deficit was at 11.4 billion dollars or 4.7 per cent of GDP, according to government officials. This year export of $16.4 billion were recorded, while imports were $19.7 billion, showing a service trade balance of 2.6 billion dollars.
Cabinet was also told that foreign remittances worth $18.8 billion were received during the current fiscal year ending on June 30. The country's foreign exchange reserves were recorded at $18.7 billion at the end of April this year. The meeting was also informed that investment in the country was limited to $1.864 billion during the current fiscal year, but it was higher than just $403 million last year. The Prime Minister said the process of economic stability and reforms will continue without any interruption. He also asked Cabinet ministers to reduce unnecessary expenditure in their respective departments.