People in Pakistan not realising COVID-19 is a great threat: Shoaib Akhtar
Lahore, March 24 - Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar has been left frustrated with the way people in the country are dealing with coronavirus, saying Pakistani citizens are busy enjoying picnic and travelling in such a dangerous scenario and they are not understanding the gravity of the situation.
Close to 900 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in Pakistan and six people have already lost their lives because of COVID-19.
"I went outside for some really important work today. I did not shake hands with anyone or hugged anyone. The windows of my car were closed the entire time and I came back home as soon as possible. But I noticed a very worrying trend outside. I saw four guys travelling on one bike, they were going for a picnic. People are having food together outside, travelling to other places. Why are restaurants still open, why are we not closing them," Akhtar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
In India where so far more than 400 confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported, various states have been put under lockdown.
"In India, people have embraced a curfew. But here in Pakistan, we can't stop travelling. 90 percent of cases are due to human contact but we are not ready to stay at home. What are we doing? This is dangerous, it's like playing with the lives of people," he added.
He further called on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to impose a lockdown in the country, while urging citizens to adhere to the guidelines and rules imposed by the authorities in order to stop the spread of novel coronavirus.
"We are failing to understand that this (coronavirus) is a huge threat. Don't believe in myths that this virus will not spread in the summer or not infect young people. People are roaming around freely, what is the need to go outside," said Akhtar.
"I request Pakistan government to take strong action and impose a lockdown. Please lockdown the cities. Italy made a huge mistake by not imposing lockdown early. People are dying there every day. I request Pakistan government to give a time slot to people to buy all the necessary items like groceries and impose a lockdown. Sorry to say but people in Pakistan are not listening, they are out there having picnics and celebrating," he added while citing the example of Italy where more than 6,000 people have already lost their lives due to coronavirus.
Earlier, Akhtar had urged people to help each other rising above religion and economic status.
"Request all my fans all across the globe. Coronavirus is a global crisis and we have to think as a global force, rise above religion. Lockdown is happening so that the virus does not spread. If you are doing interaction and meeting in places, it will not help," Akhtar.
"If you are hoarding things, please think about the daily wage workers. Stores are empty. What is the guarantee that you will live after three months? Think about the daily wage worker, how will he feed his family? Think about people, time to be a human, not Hindu, Muslim. People will have to help each other, collect funds. Stop hoarding.
"Rich will still survive; how will the poor survive? Have faith. We are living like animals, live like humans. Try to be helpful, please stop storing stuff. It is the time we look after each other. No time to be divided, we have to live as humans," he added.
Coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city, has so far infected over 3,00,000 people and claiming over 16,000 lives.