There have been many diseases in the past, but this novel coronavirus seems to have engulfed the world like a storm. The virus has created havoc across the globe. Most worrisome is the situation in neighbouring India. Thousands of people are dying, there is lack of oxygen in hospitals, and the number of those infected and needing hospitalisation has gone far beyond the capacity of the health system. Resultantly, people are dying on the streets, and morgues and crematories have run out of capacity.
Every country is trying to curb the virus by vaccinating its people and enforcing strict measures to restrict contact among people. While the rest of the world is doing everything to deal with the deadly virus, we in Pakistan seem largely indifferent. Plato once said that people are what the state is and that seems to be true for Pakistan at least. While people are completely disregarding social distancing, the government also does not seem prepared or willing to put in full effort to stop the spread. Despite government appeals, shopping malls are full, and people seldom wear masks. As a result, the government has had to call in the army to ensure enforcement of SOPs. However, the hesitation on the part of the government in implementing a complete lockdown for a couple of weeks is also mindboggling, especially when we are witnessing the horrors of the raging pandemic right next door. The economy is important but it is if people are. Sanctity of life takes precedence over everything.
I am afraid that if we do not take the pandemic seriously, we will soon be under the wrath of the deadly virus. The government must enforce a complete and strict lockdown. People must follow social distancing protocols and wear masks. Social gatherings for any reason must be avoided by people and politicians alike. May God save our country from this looming catastrophe!
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2021.