‘COVID-19 May Devastate World Economies,’ Warns Pak PM Imran Khan

COVID-19 is highly contagious and can be spread by people with no visible symptoms.

Published17 Mar 2020, 05:28 PM IST
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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
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Hera Khan

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday, 17 March, that he fears the new coronavirus will devastate the economies of developing nations, and warned richer economies to prepare to write off the debts of the world's poorer countries.

Khan sat down with the Associated Press at his office in the resplendent white-domed government headquarters in the capital of Islamabad. He'd spent much of his day meeting experts about the effect of the coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan, which has confirmed 183 cases so far.

“My worry is poverty and hunger," Khan said. "The world community has to think of some sort of a debt write-off for countries like us, which are very vulnerable, at least that will help us in coping with (the coronavirus).”

“It's not just Pakistan. I would imagine the same in India, in the subcontinent, in African countries,” he said, referring to the virus. “If it spreads, we will all have problems with our health facilities. We just don't have that capability. We just don't have the resources.”

Most people who get the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness it causes experience only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover within weeks.

But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by people with no visible symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

(With inputs from AP)

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