New Delhi: During the video conference of SAARC leaders over the coronavirus outbreak, Pakistan on Sunday raised the Kashmir issue and said all restrictions in the Union Territory should be lifted in view of the coronavirus threat. Also Read - In Video Call With SAARC Leaders, PM Proposes to Create COVID-19 Emergency Fund; India to Contribute USD 10 mn

Representing Pakistan government, State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza said, “It is a matter of concern that COVID-19 has been reported from Jammu and Kashmir and in view of a health emergency, it is imperative that all lockdown in the territory must be lifted immediately.” Also Read - SAARC Video Conference: This is What Member Countries Said About Tackling Coronavirus

Saying that all share common regional concerns on COVID-19; he added that all the countries now need to prepare for the worst.

“No nation can afford to be unresponsive to the situation in wake of coronavirus outbreak,” he said, adding, “We believe that SAARC Secretariat does provide us a platform that can bring us together and we believe that we need to use this platform for pooling of resources, technical expertise, national experiences and even financing that can be used by SAARC members.”

The statement from Zafar Mirza comes at a time when the Jammu and Kashmir administration ordered the closure of all primary schools and Anganwadis in five districts of Jammu and cinema halls across the region amid coronavirus outbreak.

As per updates, cinema halls in the 5 districts including Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, and Udhampur will remain closed till March 31. These measures have been taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Talking about Pakistan’s preparedness over the outbreak of coronavirus, Zafar Mirza said that his country has decided to close all educational institutions for 3 weeks.

“We have decided to close all our educational institutions for 3 weeks, close the entire western border for 2 weeks, restrict international flights to 3 airports only and to ban all large public gatherings,” he said.

He also said that Pakistan shares common concern over the potential of COVID-19 affecting South Asia. “All our countries have confirmed cases. There is no room for any complacency. While hoping for the best, we have to be prepared for the worst,” he added.