Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said the country can still avert tough times in its anti-coronavirus fight if people follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs). “Even now, if the people are made to take precautions and follow SOPs, I am sure we will not have to go through tough times other countries are going through,” the prime minister said while addressing the volunteers of Corona Relief Tigers Force to apprise them of their future role particularly for the enforcement of SOPs as well as relief services in the locked-down areas. He said Allah Almighty has showered His great blessing on Pakistan by protecting it against the much apprehended bad times, for what he lauded the role of the people as well as his team for assessing the situation and making right decisions. He said only Pakistan and the United Kingdom had realized the necessity of the volunteer force. Around 35,000 volunteers turned up to work in Italy and 60,000 in the UK, but in Pakistan, over a million had registered and about 175,000 came to work which shows a great passion among the Pakistani people.The prime minister said the government will need the Tiger Force’s support to apprise the people on the importance of SOPs at the shops, markets and industries, which were opened subject to the adherence to certain conditions. He said Pakistan is the only Islamic country to allow Tarawih congregations during Ramazan and due to the ulema’s cooperation, the country had not seen any breakout from mosques. In this regard, the volunteers also played a positive role by visiting the mosques and making the people follow the guidelines, he added, while exemplifying and appreciating the volunteers’ role in Sialkot. Prime Minister Imran Khan once again shared his views on easing up restrictions imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan, saying the country cannot afford another lockdown. “Our team [NCOC] sits together regularly … because of our steps we escaped the worst… look at Brazil, US and UK where thousands have died. But the situation is different in Pakistan,” he said.Developing countries like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have borne the brunt of coronavirus economically, said the prime minister. “Now entire world thinks we should go for smart lockdown … because of lockdown in India there is hunger … people are dying on streets because of lockdown there … it has increased poverty … because of lockdown even middle class has become poor,” he said. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has praised Pakistan’s measures to mitigate the impact of coronavirus lockdown, he said. “It said that no other country distributed money like Pakistan in a limited time. We have escaped a big trouble,” he added. “If we hadn’t taken such step then, Pakistan would have been in a much bigger trouble. We cannot go back to lockdown. This country cannot afford another lockdown,” he continued.The prime minister said he is in in contact with the healthcare fraternity which he admitted was under an immense pressure in dealing with Covid-19 patients. “There will be more pressure on them in coming days… even the countries which imposed the strictest lockdown had to open their economies despite sharp rise in cases,” he remarked.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the priority of his government is to stabilize the economy with focus on job creation for the youth so as to counter the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.Chairing a high-level meeting to review the proposals for the federal budget 2020-21, the prime minister said every section of the society was affected by coronavirus besides putting an impact on the government’s efforts towards development. He said keeping in view these stark realities, the first priority of the government is to promote those sectors which can create job opportunities for youth and boost the economic process. He said reduction in non-development expenditure, especially a cut in unnecessary government expenditure, is the government’s priority from day one. The prime minister said the present economic situation demanded that the pace of reforms be accelerated so that unnecessary burden on the people could be minimized and relief be provided to them.