Pakistan is facing its biggest challenge ever in the form of coronavirus outbreak, with thousands affected by the deadly virus so far and dozens of those even losing their lives. The government has taken a volley of aggressive steps to contain the spread of the disease since its outbreak, with all the provinces implementing varying levels of lockdowns and other restrictions. Our borders are closed; air and rail traffic is grounded; road travel is limited; industries are closed and businesses activities are suspended. Squares and streets are deserted and educational institutions, cinemas and marriage halls are closed across country, while people have been told to stay home. The next few days are crucial for Pakistan’s coronavirus battle. If the cases continue to exponentially multiply, the authorities may have to impose a curfew, which is definitely easier said than done. This battle has several prongs, hence business as usual will not work. These are extraordinary times, and extraordinary steps are required to defeat this monster. Economy in Pakistan, which was only just recovering from an external crisis that saw the country go back to the International Monetary Fund, has come to a screeching halt. Hundreds of thousands of workers from the low-income groups are under serious threat of loss of their sources of income. Even government officials at top levels have acknowledged that the coronavirus outbreak can pose a serious challenge to Pakistan’s deteriorated medical health care system. Medical experts have warned that if Pakistan’s confirmed cases of coronavirus see a steep rise in the coming days, its healthcare system can burst at the seams. The country also faces the risk of a destabilizing panic in society due to its weak emergency response systems. In such a situation, fear and panic may fuel unrest in the society and the government has to prepare for the event of a potential law and order crisis also, especially at the hospitals treating coronavirus patients. The government has also to prepare for a probable disruption of food supply chain in the coming days. As our government and national institutions are trying their utmost to tackle the challenges unheard of before, good planning and management can save many lives even with limited resources. Here are a few suggestions for the government to consider as it scrambles to manage the biggest ever challenge of the country. * The government needs to implement policy-level decisions on a priority basis to have visible dividends. Close coordination and unity is the foremost requirement of any national-level activity as disjointed efforts may lead to paralysis at the execution level. * Flexible policy for gradual opening of industrial and business sector needs to be ensured in synchronization with the provinces. * Domestic innovators must be sponsored vis-à-vis designing of new digital solutions to combat the coronavirus pandemic. * A centralized online management software linked with all private and government hospitals must be made operational at the National Command & Operation Centre (NCOC) for real-time forecasting of available and required medical supplies. * Economic sustainability versus prolonged lockdown model needs due deliberation as any inaccurate analysis may lead to stagnation and economic paralysis. * Perception management strategy must be formulated and implemented to avert panic and hysteria amongst people. * Special financial assistance must be extended to women workers, especially the vulnerable single mothers and widows, through fusion of existing database and input received from provincial and district administration. * Ehsaas programme must be synergized in coordination with the provinces while due accountability must be ensured. Audit through a reputable independent firm can be a practicable option. * The State Bank of Pakistan needs to devise mechanism to avoid crowds at banks, especially during the peak times. * The federal government must seek financial assistance from the UNHCR for Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan to include them in the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme purely on humanitarian grounds. * Enhancement of coronavirus testing capacity must be ensured by merger of all existing healthcare infrastructures. * Zero tolerance policy must be adopted by the federal as well as provincial governments to ensure biosafety precautions and infectious waste management disposal protocols in hospitals and quarantine as well as isolation centres. * Government may also consider activating village committees for active awareness campaigns in remote areas regarding social distancing and other preventive measures. * A national-level policy for ensuring compulsory vaccine regime after its discovery must be adopted. The challenge is huge and unprecedented, and dealing with it requires every ounce of creative energy and close coordination. It is time to get united and put in our best to fight this monster, rather than hoping for a miracle. The alternative is a disaster no country, or at least Pakistan, can afford.