Tuesday September 21, 2021

Twin cities continue to defy coronavirus SOPs

August 02, 2021

People continue socializing with family members and friends in the Rawalpindi city and Islamabad disregarding the coronavirus SOPs even though the city recorded a regular rise in the new variants of Coronavirus Pandemic like Delta virus.

There is nothing exceptional about following Coronavirus SOPs as people are seen in all streets, roads and markets of the city moving without emergency reasons with private cars, bikes, cabs, and rickshaws plying everywhere. The city wears almost a normal look with an increased number of vehicles and people on the streets as if there is no threat of a virus. Even the movement of public transport like Suzukis, wagons, buses, and Chin-chi is in great numbers.

With the spike in Coronavirus variants, the lockdown restrictions are largely ignored. Visiting different areas, one can see the increased movement of people in different areas of the city including Saddar, Raja Bazaar, Murree Road, Sadiqabad, Saidpur Road, Faizabad, I J Principle Road, Pir Wadhai Adda, Sawan, Rawat, etc.

A large number of people are seen gossiping on roads and moving from one place to another without wearing masks. Talking to The News, the traffic inspector of Saddar area Moazzam Hussain said the pressure of vehicles increased today compared to the last few days. “In some areas, traffic control is needed due to a rise in the number of vehicles,” he said.

Mumtaz Hasan, a traffic sergeant of the Satellite Town area, said the number of vehicles is increasing every day. When we stop vehicles at check-posts, passengers show various causes for coming out of home, including banking work, hospitalization of patients, and vaccination. We are filing cases and imposing fines on those who cannot show a valid reason for going outdoors but people are coming out despite all this.

There are rumors of secret parties. Beyond such gatherings, there are people from all spheres of life ignoring Coronavirus SOPs, mixing with other families, and refusing to wear masks.

Although most people intend to follow social distancing guidelines, the number who do is far lower ignoring implications their behavior may have to the government’s attempts to tackle Coronavirus.

City residents say they have not personally seen the serious impact of Coronavirus on someone’s health. It can therefore seem that infrequently meeting up with friends or family has a low chance of affecting your own health. This low-risk perception tips the scales towards people deciding to break guidelines. Indeed, lower perceived risk levels influence people to ignore public health guidance.

The onset of the Eidul Azha’s holiday period and with it the threat of complying with public health rules falling, the gatherings of family and friends over the holidays worsened the situation. The problem with Coronavirus, however, is that it is an invisible threat. It does not alert our usual survival instincts.