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May 24, 2020

Crisis mode

Newspost

 
May 24, 2020

After over a month-long semi/ partial lockdown in the country, it stands relaxed, allowing almost all business activities to resume. Many advanced countries in the world, despite suffering high infection rates and death tolls, have started to relax their lockdowns as well. The government has taken the decision to lift the lock down, after a deliberative process at the National Coordination Committee (NCC)- the highest decision-making body in the country. However, these relaxed conditions come at a stage when coronavirus cases are trending upwards. The priority appears to be to prevent more people from losing their livelihoods and an all-out economic catastrophe. The decision assumed that the public would adhere to the safety instructions to avert further spread of the virus.

Upon the opening of the markets we have observed an extraordinary rush, with a total disregard for SOPs. Despite a suppliant appeal to the nation by political and medical leaders to observe necessary precautions, no one paid any heed. A blatant disregard for safety measures is fraught with grave ramifications. A reversal of the decision to ease the lockdown will put the country into serious difficulty, due to its weak economy and fragile healthcare infrastructure. We are also not sure how long the Coronavirus will continue to haunt us. If it were a matter of weeks or a month, the lockdown could be re-imposed. We must learn to live with the virus for an indefinite period. Adherence to SOPs is the only option under the circumstances. As a nation, we must accept the challenge and adopt a more serious and observant attitude towards SOPs. It is the responsibility of every individual and society to change its behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances when a national crisis of this magnitude is on hand. The government should be firm in implementation of the SOPs, including the introduction of punitive measures for all rule-breakers.

Saud Bashir Bajwa

Lahore