Second surges typically have been blamed on human behavior, globally. With the rise of the UK B.1.1.7 variant and the homegrown double mutant B.1.617, from April 15 onwards, India surpassed the record of the highest number of COVID cases reported in a single day, previously held by the United States.
While the return of the virus with newly identified variants was inevitable, the government’s complacency and ignorance from the people has amplified the surge with hospitals overwhelmed and the healthcare system of the country crumbling.
Despite the number of cases peaking millions of people visited the River Ganges for the religious Kumbh Mela festival putting the country and the world at grave risk.
With the new Indian mutant and UK variant already crawling its way into Pakistan, the country is back with peaking cases being reported every day and with the Holy Month of Ramadan in its full bloom, precaution is needed more than ever for the people here to not suffer like India.
Irresponsible behavior of the people and the government’s reluctance towards enforcing drastic measures is what made matters worse during the first two waves with the third wave’s rising scale being much steeper, the situation is dangerously alarming.
As stated by the Head of Nationals Command and Operations Center (NCOC) Asad Umar, “Our window of worry is from now till mid-May,” all for the right reasons. Increased attendance in mosques, Iftar dinning’s and Eid preparations can speed up the rate of infections and with the delay and shortage in vaccine availability, only a grim picture can be foreseen for Pakistan.
Grappling with tighter restrictions
With increasing cases and violations of the standard operating procedures (SOPs), this week NCOC has announced nationwide restrictions to stem the surge of Covid-19, with a plan in consideration of a complete lockdown in certain cities if things go down the hill.
Ignorance of people and administration has led to strict restrictions with armed forces, as the only chance for the people to take the severity of this pandemic seriously.
Indoor and outdoor dining banned, 50% work from home policy for both government and private offices with 2 pm time restriction and closure of schools in cities with high positivity ratios are to be followed strictly.
Despite its neighboring country’s putrefying Covid healthcare situation, political rallies, religious and cultural festivities, wedding celebrations, and gatherings were in full swing.
The violation of SOPs contributed to increasing cases and with the spirits of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, nothing less can be expected as the positivity ratio continues to increase at an alarming rate in all the urban cities of Pakistan.
A call for people to act!
Health cannot be comprised and drastic measures must be taken and restrictions should be imposed. It’s high time people take responsibility and understand the gravity of the situation.
Cooperation with the government to successfully implement the restrictions and following the SOPs is the only course of action to flip this evident situation at the end of the tunnel. A complete lockdown may not be taken into consideration despite the destructive nature of the third wave which is far more lethal than the first.
The restrictions of the first wave resulted in businesses suffering and people losing their jobs which the government cannot afford to do again. The only way to control the outcomes of the raging pandemic wave is to take precautions, wear masks and maintain social distancing.
If not taken seriously the situation will get out of hand as Pakistan is not far behind India in experiencing a shortage of oxygen supply and an overwhelming capacity problem for its hospitals.
While everyone may not have the luxury of staying home, the least expected from them is to follow SOPs, be responsible citizens, and protect the ones around.
A humanitarian crisis is feared in Punjab, K.P, and Islamabad, with an on ground situation showing Covid-19 to be dangerous for children as well making them as vulnerable as elders.
The Covid-19 positivity rate stands at 10.90% in Pakistan, as we pray and send support for our neighboring country. To battle this catastrophe, we must take all necessary steps to not let things get out of control.
The author is a student of Masters in Development Studies at the National University of Science and Technology with a stream of interest in Economics, Public Policy and Community Development. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.