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‘Stay at Home, Stay Safe’ this Eidul Fitr

Islamabad

May 24, 2020

Though the coronavirus pandemic has shown signs of slowing in some western countries and Arab Muslim countries, it will be probably a sombre Eid for millions of Muslims in Pakistan who are expected to limit their festive celebrations to small family gatherings within the same house. People are expected to stay home and stay safe this Eidul Fitr.

Although government has announced six-day vacations for the festive occasion, but it is aimed at restricting people to stay at home and stay safe. The holiday that usually begins with a massive attendance of congregational morning prayers, followed by gatherings with family members for big meals is marked to be a sombre one this year amid outbreak of coronavirus. Visits to relatives and friends normally take place later in the day or the following day, which are unlikely to happen this time around.

To maintain social distancing guidelines, the government of Pakistan have asked people to limit their movement, with the aim of curbing any further outbreaks of coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.

People have been time and again guided that they can be infected by breathing in the virus if they are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, nose or mouth.

Although, the government ordered, commercial and business enterprises to remain open till Thursday, as they are now and people will be able to move freely between 9am local time and 5pm to do their Eid shopping. However, following orders of the Supreme Court to opening shopping malls across the country till Sunday, the business activities continued till late night at major markets of Rawalpindi.

A hustle and bustle has been witnessed in markets all around the country and people have thronged the markets even with little kids citing it was their children who were insisting to do Eid shopping.

Pakistan’s financial drought has put growing pressure on an already disillusioned population that has seen their savings erode. Eager to restart its economy after businesses closed during the coronavirus crisis, government began a plan to relax the national lockdown earlier this month that allowed small businesses to reopen. But after a few days of single-digit cases detected, there was a spike in reported infections last week, including among Pakistanis returning home during repatriation programmes.

However, government and health officials criticised careless behaviour and a lack of social distancing in recent days and it is believed, if the people will not follow the standard operating procedures during Eid congregational prayers, the situation could deteriorate further bringing more misery to the nation and putting extra pressure on our health system.