Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

CORONA WAR: Heterodox Solution Based on Aggressive Testing
Publication Year : 2020

In the PIDE COVID-19 Bulletin No. 2, we supported a policy of lockdown in a phased way as per its geographical intensification. Lockdown was suggested as the most effective policy response for two reasons. Firstly, to break the chain of epidemic spread. And secondly, as per PIDE’s analysis, lockdown if successful in stopping epidemic at an early stage was considered to have much less economic cost instead of a policy of slowing down the economy. We also feel that the Prime Minister’s hesitation for a lockdown is understandable for two reasons. 1. The biggest issue is that of logistics. How to get food and daily necessities to people behind the lockdown especially as we know that few in our cities have the means to store food for any reasonable duration. 2. Most cities are zoned and planned for populations that are far below the actual numbers in them2. This forces people to either crowd into insanitary old establishments or set themselves up in crowded informal settlements. Given the extent of crowding, thanks to poor planning, social distancing in these areas will mean little. So, let us think of a more heterodox solution to minimise losses.