Amid COVID-19 crisis, this is how Italy’s Pakistani community is doing their part to help people

Previously, the Italian foreign affairs ministry announced on its website that Pakistan would donate 500,000 tablets of chloroquine.

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The Counsel General of Pakistan in Milan Dr. Manzoor Ahmed Chaudhary has been constantly busy since COVID-19 hit Italy. He has become the de facto contact person for Italy’s Pakistani community, who are struggling under the lockdown.

“Either the phone rings all day, or I am on social media, answering questions, making clarifications”, Manzoor told news outlets.

He said that he could not provide an official number for how many Pakistanis had succumbed to the virus but 150 were infected and 10 had lost their lives.

As the virus continues to affect Italy, Pakistanis have sprung into action to collect donations, distribute food and raise awareness amongst the masses through online campaigns.

A prominent Pakistani-Italian, Chaudhary Shahid Nazeer Gujjar had set up a WhatsApp group with 250 members to keep the community informed during these tough times and coordinate relief efforts. Now, he connects affluent Pakistanis with the vulnerable members of the community. Financial aid is provided to the needy through online channels or through agencies like Western Union.

Saad Alam, originally from Nowshera and a student and part-time model in Turin, has been working with an association in the Piemonte region to keep Pakistanis updated with the changes in the law. Other Pakistanis have begun delivering food directly to people’s homes.

Pakistanis aren’t only helping their own. A well-connected Pakistani Irfan Hayat Ranjha said he was approached by a group Pakistanis who wanted to donate funds to a local hospital.

“Within six days of launching an appeal among our people, we collected over 10,000 euros that we have now donated to a hospital in Carpi”, he said.

The first Pakistani woman to be elected as a town councilor in the Brescia area Iram Tahir also wrote a letter to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, and asked that doctors and nurses be sent to Italy as a gesture of support and goodwill.

Previously, the Italian foreign affairs ministry announced on its website that Pakistan would donate 500,000 tablets of chloroquine, a medicine that is being used to treat COVID-19 symptoms in some patients.

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