These are unprecedented times with situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus) evolving and becoming challenging by every hour. We can easily gauge the magnitude of health and economic impact by just noting overcrowded hospitals or inactivity at world’s largest business districts or cities globally. As counties plan and execute their response strategies to the virus, there is an increased pressure on Pakistan for a forced national lockdown, especially coming from the digital and social media. However, considering its economic positions and drivers, weak financial position and hugely dense population, lockdown in Pakistan comes with much greater challenges and risk than any other country with no guaranteed success. Firstly, it brings a significant economic risk to the already cripple economy and likely to add misery to the already underprivileged masses. It is important to note that the countries with strongest forced lockdowns are among the most developed and economically strong countries. For example, Italy, probably the most severely impacted country (almost 90 people from every 100,000 got impacted) has 23 times the GDP per capita compared to Pakistan. It means that Italians individually are23 times better placed financially to see through the lockdown period. This is similar for countries such as France, UK, Australia and othersFor Pakistan with a population of over 240 million, effective ongoing lockdown could be next to impossible. Imagine how a country with fragile economy and low resources as Pakistan would mobilise to not only ensure strict adherence to the lockdown but also to provide food and basic necessities to masses. This would bring its own unprecedented and huge challenges as country wide lockdown without an effective support would fast become ineffectivePakistan’s economy is highly informal and with low financial inclusion i.e. 60% of the labour force are working on an informal work arrangement (e.g. daily wagers or job without any legalised cover, medical protection and etc.) and that high proportion of the population has no bank accounts. This creates greater two-folds risk for Pakistan i.e. significant risk to daily income of the masses with no quick way to provide financial assistance without the people-to-people assistance (they do not have a bank account)Another important factor or uncertainly is about what could be the timing of the lockdown. Wuhan was closed for more than 50 days. We still do not know how long Italy and France would need to be closed before things gets under control. For Pakistan, low resources, higher informal employment, low GDP per capita and prevalent poverty level provides no capacity of a sizable lockdown time period if any. However short lockdown would not serve the purpose and could just turn out to be a wasteHowever, above doesn’t mean or indicate that current Government measures are enough. Infect it need to do more. It needs to take actions and take them fast with authority and clarity. To-date it is evident that most, if not all of Pakistan’s corona victims have arrived from overseas and majority are “Zaireen” i.e. people returning from Iran from a religious trip. This could be an advantage to Pakistan as it enables it to nib the bud by stringently applying the quarantine measure to this cohort of people on immediate basisPakistan should strictly lock down pockets of towns / cities when and where required. Small pockets would ensure strict and manageable adherence with ongoing required supplies or supportPakistan must strictly ban large gatherings including in mosque, weddings and other religious or spiritual places; Infect state must leverage from religious leaders to pass on the importance of self-isolation in this scenario by referencing to well-known historical eventsPakistan should also follow China or even get its assistance on overall response strategy as well as in disinfecting the relevant areas to ensure proper quarantineImportantly Pakistan must fast, work to establish large and equipped quarantine centres with all the right facilitiesPakistan like everyone needs a combined approach but given the nature of the country and its unique challenges, it needs to take a pragmatic but effective approach. At the same time, it would be unfair of us to expect Pakistan to do the same measures which are being carried in the developed world.Ahsan Rana holds master’s degree in applied finance and currently serves as senior manager in an Australian bank. His interests include global politics, economics and sports.