I was scheduled to fly from Istanbul to Dubai on 16th of March 2020. My flight was canceled due to UAE Government’s cancellation of all incoming flights. Although by 16th of March 2020, Turkey only had 19 reported cases, yet they did not take any chances.
Life in Turkey was normal till the 16th of March as the number of cases were only 19 and there were no deaths.
People across Turkey are applauding health workers fighting the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/5BPe82xHhx
— TRT World (@trtworld) March 21, 2020
On 17th of March 2020, Turkey had its 1st death and instantly the government without wasting a single second completely shut down Istanbul’s restaurants, malls, mosques, bars and all public places to control the outbreak.
When I saw these desperate measures being taken, I was panicked. I took a direct flight the same evening to Pakistan with the fear that outgoing flights to Pakistan may also be canceled.
Read more: Coronavirus: WHO warns young people ‘you are not invincible’
I took all precautionary measures; wearing a mask and sanitizing my hands throughout my journey. I arrived in Pakistan on the 18th of march early morning.
I have gone into self Quraninte for 14 days to protect my children, my old parents who are most vulnerable, my staff at my home, my friends and countrymen. I tried to be as responsible as possible and do my duty to the best of my capacity to protect my Pakistanis and country from the further outbreak. I isolated myself as I have traveled from abroad; even though I have no fever and no symptoms alhamdulillah.
One person's mistake can affect us all.
— Ali Hashmi (@AliHashmi299) March 21, 2020
But I am shocked to see that in Pakistan the markets are open, the malls are open, mosques are open, and weddings, large gatherings in restaurants, government gatherings at Punjab Governor House are taking place. It is scary just to think of it how much we may be exposed to the virus.
The Federal Government has taken no concrete action. What is the federal government waiting for? Maybe when numbers of cases cross of thousands.
We don’t have the resources to protect our elderly if they are affected, we don’t have the financial resources to protect our business community or to provide financial aid to our citizens to survive this pandemic.
I am scared to say this but it is a frightening reality that Pakistan may never recover if action is not taken today on complete lockdown. With a lockdown, our citizens will be restricted from movement and we can contain this virus before it explodes to an unprecedented number.
May God have mercy on us all and may we fight this virus as a untied and sensible nation together inshAllah.
Umar is a successful Pakistani businessman; the views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.