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May 24, 2020

Unheeded SOPs

Editorial

 
May 24, 2020

With the number of coronavirus infected people crossing the 50,000 mark, we have seen a five-time increase in just one month. The main reason for this rapid spike is a complete disregard for any SOPs that the government would have willy-nilly imposed. Nearly all public transport is back on roads and there is no adherence to any health protocols. People are roaming around without any masks, while coughing and puffing at each other. The reopening of markets was also a major trigger for this record jump because most shops are committing blatant violations of the government’s SOPs.

The authorities appear to be helpless and are simply issuing warnings. They have even tried sealing some overcrowded shopping areas but the people are as defiant as ever. This situation is not confined to just Karachi or Lahore, most cities and towns across the country have been presenting the usual hustle and bustle of Eid shopping. The chief minister of Sindh has been expressing his concerns over contravention of precautionary measures after easing of the lockdown, but in other provinces even that concern is conspicuous by its absence. Here are two elements to this unfortunate development: one, the people must not go out without masks and even with masks wherever they go they must keep social distancing of at least two metres. It is true that just before Eid, taking strict action and arresting people for such violations would have been an uphill task but something needed to be done.

At most shops it has been observed that salesmen are not using masks to protect themselves and their customers; this practice must stop. The worst part is that when the authorities try to impose some order, protesters are not far behind and come out on streets as if a big injustice has been committed against them. An increasing number of deaths and infected people should serve as an eye-opener to all those who are taking it lightly. Having said this, it must again be stressed that most common people are still facing acute financial difficulties which both the federal and provincial governments must address. Just by trying to impose protocols the people’s problems will not vanish. There should have been a mechanism in place so that during the Eid holidays no family went unfed.