Rice, pulses, salt, oil, soap and sugar to be distributed to informal sector workers and destitutesLocal governments tasked with handing out specified quantities of relief materials as they are closest to the people.
Unorganised sector workers who lost jobs due to the ongoing lockdown and the destitute people will get rice, pulses, salt, cooking oil, soap and sugar during the crisis as part of the government’s relief package.
The Cabinet on Sunday decided to provide relief for those living from hand to mouth as they lose their daily-wage work. The federal government has said local councils will be responsible for distributing relief packages as they are closest to the people.
The Finance Ministry on Wednesday issued the standards to be followed by local governments while distributing aid to the workers in the unorganised sector and the destitute people.
As per the working model, a family will get 30kg rice, three kg pulses, two packets of salt, two litres of cooking oil, four soaps and two kg sugar for the lockdown period. A ward distributes the relief considering one family as a unit and keeps record, the guidelines state. The quantity of relief materials is for a family with three or more members. For a family of up to two members, the specified quantity is a half of each. Only a family having no source of income at the moment qualifies for the aid.
A joint-secretary at the Finance Ministry, who didn’t want to be named, told the Post that local governments could make minor adjustments to the measures depending on the ground reality. “But they should follow this standard on who the target groups are and what they will receive,” the official said.
The Finance Ministry has also defined unorganised sector workers and destitutes. Unorganised sector workers include those transporting goods from a shop to the customer, porters carrying tourists’ belongings, truck loaders, farm workers, people serving at others’ households, construction sector workers and footpath vendors.
Others in the category are drivers who operate delivery vans and trucks, their assistants, people who drive taxis and tempos paying daily rental, rickshaw pullers, garage technicians and daily wage workers at the local level.
According to the standards, destitutes are those who stay at temples, care homes, monasteries, mosques, churches and old age homes without provisions from their family members and relatives.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of September 18, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 has spread to 213 countries and territories around the world and infected more than 30,349,591 people with 950,555 deaths and 22,038,587 recoveries. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 5,212,686 with 84,404 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 304,386 confirmed cases with 6,408 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 61,593 cases with 390 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.