Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a phase-wise lifting of the coronavirus lockdown in the country, starting from the 9th of May i.e. today. Even though the coronavirus cases in the country are rising with the peak not yet in sight, the deaths among the known cases of infection are just about 2.37%. That is what perhaps gave the Prime Minister the space to take a risky decision that can even be reversed in case of the virus getting out of control — something that the PM himself mentioned as he urged the public to maintain social distancing and abide by the SOPs for resumption of commercial activity.
In what the Prime Minister described as the second phase of the lockdown, small markets as well as shops in the neighbourhoods can now operate after Sehri till 5pm all through the week barring Saturday and Sunday; more sectors related to the construction industry can be reopened; and selected OPDs are allowed to function for treating specific illnesses. While places of congregation like shopping malls, mega consumer stores, cinemas and parks will stay closed till further orders, educational institutions will not be reopened before the 15th of July. No examinations will be held and students will be promoted on the basis of their previous year’s results.
The ease in the lockdown must not have gone down well with our medical fraternity which has been in the forefront of this fight against the deadly virus, and continues to render great sacrifices. While the medics’ concern in view of the rising graph of infections is pretty comprehensible, the PM too is walking a tightrope, having to save the livelihoods of a large chunk of the population, alongside saving their lives. And then the PM is also to look at the bigger picture of protecting the economy from the infectious fallout of the novel virus.
And when Prime Minister Imran insists that nobody knows when the coronavirus will attain its peak in the country, he actually seeks to convey the message to the public that the contagion will exist for the time being, and it’s better for us to learn to co-exist with it i.e. to go about our normal routine while taking precautions.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2020.
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