In the growth phase
The need to be safe and cautious has become all the more important now that the countrywide lockdown has been eased
With more than 31,000 cases of infection and 673 deaths as of Monday noon, Pakistan ranks at 19th in the world in terms of the spread of the novel coronavirus, well ahead of neighbouring Bangladesh which is placed at 34. The cases of the deadly infection are now doubling in every 10 to 11 days — from about 7,500 on April 18 to 15,000 on April 29 and 30,000 on May 10. While the country is already in the growth phase, the government orders to ease the countrywide lockdown have come into effect from yesterday — something that is feared to cause the virus to spread even faster.
Easing the lockdown across the country was not an easy decision for the leadership. It was taken after detailed deliberations involving the Centre and all provinces, besides all other stakeholders, and came out as a consensus decision. It is meant to give the commercial activity — paused since almost March 23 — a push and thereby help the falling economy as well as the financially weak and vulnerable segment of our society, in particular. There is, however, still a ban on public congregations. Besides, trains and air travel have also not been allowed, and so is the inter- and intra-city public transport.
The leadership, as well as the media, has been calling upon the public to adopt safe distancing practices and follow all other SOPs to keep themselves and others safe from the contagion. For the sake of all our frontline fighters — including doctors, policemen and military and paramilitary forces who are out to ensure our safety — we must do our bit by not going outdoors unnecessarily and following all precautions being taught to us. While the number of medics and policemen who have laid down their lives while serving the people has already gone into double figures, a Pakistani army major lost his life on Saturday after contracting the coronavirus in Peshawar. Major Muhammad Asghar was posted along the Torkham Border Crossing to screen people traveling in from Afghanistan, and turned out to be first Covid martyr from the armed forces, according to the ISPR.
The need to be safe and cautious has become all the more important now that the countrywide lockdown has been eased.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2020.
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