Conscientious living: A village in Punjab serves as model to curb Covid-19
Agricultural community of 5,000 has limited travel, ensured cleanliness and banned gatherings
SARGODHA: A village near Sargodha has acted more responsibly than the most advanced and educated cities of the world like New York and Milan to combat the ongoing novel coronavirus infectious pandemic.
As most of the educated world struggles to contain the spread of the virus and urges the populace to act conscientiously, the locals of village 159-NB changed their lifestyle in accordance with the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) without compulsion.
An agriculturist, Mohammad Ali, revealed that as novel coronavirus began to spread, the educated youth of the rural community called a ‘panchayat’ (meeting) to address the issue.
The village elders allowed the young men to come up with an effective strategy to protect the community from Covid-19 infection.
Thereby, it was decided that the village having a population of 5,000, which is located at a distance of 45km from Sargodha, would be cordoned off for travel unless out of necessity.
“Out of the five routes that connect our village to the outside world, two were sealed. The other three were blocked with wooden barriers and check posts were set up to monitor those coming to or leaving the village,” Ali explained.
A young man, Arslan, one of the four guards deployed at a check post, said, “No one is allowed to leave unless they convince us of unavoidable circumstances which have compelled them to travel.”
He further said it is mandatory for residents to clean their hands with a locally produced sanitiser before they enter the village premises.
The youths deployed at the check posts have been provided personal protective gear, including gloves and masks, by the residents.
Furthermore, social gatherings have been banned and the villagers have been asked to maintain a safe distance from each other as a precautionary measure.
“The doctors, paramedical staff, army, and police personnel are busy in saving and protecting lives after putting themselves at risk. During these critical times, we should play our role and make their job easier,” another native, Muhammad Aslam, remarked.
Reportedly, not only the streets are deserted in the village, masks and sanitisers are being distributed among the residents by philanthropists.
Ahsan, a Sargodha university student who also lives in the village, said, “We prepared the sanitisers ourselves with the help of spirit and some other items to cut costs.”
He maintained that the villagers have also been sensitised about the importance of washing hands with soap as often as they can, as a safety measure.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2020.