The lockdown between May 8 and 16 — i.e. before and during Eid — has had a positive outcome in terms of Covid containment. The Covid-positivity rate in the country has come down to 8.6 per cent as of May 17 from a double-digit rate a little more than two weeks back. The lockdown orders were strictly enforced this Eid, pretty understandably because the authorities were serious about avoiding an India-like situation that has caused records after records of daily deaths and infection cases. Even though Eid shopping had been allowed in the country the last time, this time around the authorities did not budge an inch despite protests from the traders and shopkeeper in many cities of the country.
We all — the government and the public — have done well to celebrate Eid Covid-style, but we cannot afford to be complacent even now. It’s because while there has been an overall drop in the Covid-positivity rate in the country, certain areas in big cities have emerged as Covid hotspots. For instance, Karachi’s East district has recorded a 26 per cent Covid-positivity rate during the May 10-16 week — the highest figure among all of districts of Sindh. The authorities, therefore, need not lower the guard and continue to ensure that the public comply with the prescribed safety measures, and the public needs to cooperate with the authorities in fulfillment of their duties. The to-do for the public is: wear the face mask, follow social distancing protocols, and get themselves vaccinated.
A meeting of the NCOC, the Covid nerve centre, is scheduled to take place in Islamabad today to review the lockdown measures adopted before Eid. While the business timings in case of shopping centres and marketplaces have already been raised to 8pm and those of eateries to 12 midnight, decisions as regards schools and office attendance are expected during the meeting. The NCOC is advised to move with all the care and caution.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2021.