Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

There are times when one simply has to pause a moment to marvel at human intellect and the way people continue to push at the boundaries of the impossible. This is one of those moments, although perhaps not quite in the way you were thinking.

In the past we've brought to you several compilations that highlight the myriad gaffes that members of the Pakistan government -- including the Prime Minister -- continue to commit. Now, we have yet another one for the history books.

The novel coronavirus outbreak continues to wreak havoc, with there having been more than 8 million cases recorded thus far. But one thought that appears to be on the minds of officials in various parts of the world is the name associated with the virus -- 'COVID-19'.

The World Health Organisation says that the virus was named thus for the year it came to light and the group of viruses it belongs to. COVID-19 is short for “coronavirus disease 2019” the WHO had said on February 11. But while many agree, it would seem that Pakistan's Minister for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul, has a different theory.

A video clip that has since gained notoriety, shows Zartaj explaining that the '19' stood for "19 points in any way". What these points are, or even what kind of points she means we may perhaps never know.

Adding a healthy dose of irony to the situation, these comments were made during a current affairs show on PTV News. The reporter too can be seen nodding sagely at her comment.

Following criticism, the Minister took to Twitter stating that she had wanted to talk about the fact that the "effects and severity of the epidemic are different in different countries". She also slammed netizens for harping on a "minor mistake" and said that she was "not afraid of criticism".

Now, to be fair, this is not a new issue for Pakistan. The country's ministers and officials continue to make headlines for bizarre comments -- be it misidentifying porn stars or reinventing the world map.

But the '19' in the name of the virus has tripped up others too. In one notable incident, Kellyanne Conway a senior advisor tot the US administration told Fox News (and viewers) that this was "COVID-19, not COVID-1".

"“This is COVID-19, not COVID-1 folks, and so you would think the people charged with the World Health Organisation facts and figures would be on top of that,” she had said.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal