Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said the distribution of Rs 12,000 per household as financial assistance among the 12 million deserving families has started under the unprecedented Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme which will help mitigate the sufferings of poor masses affected by the lockdown due to Covid-19. “The whole country has been affected by the ongoing lockdown, but as the level of poverty in Balochistan is much higher than other parts of the country, I have come here to discuss with the provincial government as to how we can help the poor people in the province,” he said while talking to reporters here. Balochistan Governor Justice (r) Amanullah Khan and Chief Minister Jam Kamal were also present on the occasion. The prime minister said 16,000 disbursement points have been opened across the country for distribution of Rs 12,000 per family as financial assistance under the historic Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, which is aimed at reaching out to the poor and deserving in the critical time. He said since the labour class, including daily-wagers, vendors and small shopkeepers, have been badly affected by the lockdown, the government will review the situation on April 14 and can allow such small businesses to open in consultation with the provincial governments. The prime minister said as the outbreak of Covid-19 is a national issue, it can only be fought and won through a coordinated effort of the federal and provincial governments, and by the whole nation in unison. He said Covid-19 is such a big challenge that the rich nations, including the Westerns countries, despite having resources are facing difficulties in tacking the situation. The prime minister referred to the success of China in the fight against coronavirus, which, he said, won the war through unity and strategy. “We too have to help one another in this fight and win it as a nation,” he maintained. Talking to the Balochistan cabinet and members of parliament, Imran Khan said the whole world is confronted with an unprecedented situation after the outbreak of COVID-19 and that Pakistani nation will fight coronavirus with unity. “It is an unprecedented situation and as a nation we will confront it,” he said. As coronavirus cases are increasing worldwide, he expressed the fear that the number of such cases in Pakistan will increase at the end of April which will put more pressure on hospitals. He said the government is fully focusing on providing personal protection equipments (PPEs) and other related tools to doctors and paramedical staff at the hospitals, adding that such equipment has been provided to all those working at the intensive care units. He said there is shortage of ventilators and testing kits worldwide but the government is utilizing all its resources to import them on emergency basis. The prime minister said the National Command and Control Centre for Covid-19 is in constant touch with all the chief ministers for effective coordination to control the spread of the virus. He expressed his pleasure that there is no patient of coronavirus in Balochistan in the intensive care units. He said the coronavirus will have less impact in Balochistan except Quetta as the province has scattered population. Contrary to it, he said, the Covid-19 will have greater impact in big cities like Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad and so on. The prime minister reiterated that the complete lockdown is badly affecting the low-income and labourer community particularly in Balochistan as majority of the people here are already living below the poverty line. He said the provincial governments themselves will decide about the lockdown according to their situation on April 14. He said the federal and provincial governments are in coordination to tackle the pandemic as no single government can tackle it alone. Earlier, during his day-long visit, the prime minister visited quarantine centre at Bolan Medical College Hospital Quetta. The prime minister was accompanied by Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Khan Soori and Sardar Yar Muhammad Rindh. Balochistan Chief Secretary briefed the prime minister about the isolation ward and quarantine centre. The prime minister was also given a briefing on Covid-19 situation in Balochistan and the steps being taken to contain the spread of virus. The prime minister called for adopting an effective and coordinated strategy to ensure uninterrupted supply of food items, continuity of economic activities, provision of job opportunities and reduction of poverty in Balochistan in the wake of situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak. Stressing on the importance of sustained review of such a strategy, he, in this respect, also asked for the formation of a think-tank consisting of experts from various sectors. Giving recommendations, the prime minister said the think tank should prioritize and focus on the care and welfare of poor people living below the poverty line. He also highlighted the importance of easing restriction for the promotion of agricultural activities and supply of food items in the province. He was also briefed about the provincial government’s current and future relief packages, distribution of ration among the deserving people, establishment of a Corona Relief Fund by the parliamentarians, various waivers for health workers and the measures regarding disinfection campaign at different places. Meanwhile, a delegation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislators belonging to Balochistan called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday and offered their voluntary services for helping the people affected by coronavirus. The prime minister lauded the spirit of the parliamentarians and said that such a spirit of national service at this critical time is the need of hour. He said that the full participation of youth and other people from various segments of society in the Corona Relief Tiger Force and their spirit of serving the people, affected by coronavirus is very encouraging.