The ease In lockdown and Pakistans increasing COVID-19 cases
On May 8 the federal government of Pakistan announced a partial ease in the lockdown imposed in the country, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. This was followed by the provincial governments allowing businesses to resume operations five days a week during scheduled timings.
However, recently, the chief justice of Pakistan ordered governments to allow shopping malls to open, while also lift restrictions on businesses to operate on Saturdays and Sundays as well.
These decisions were taken at a time when the coronavirus cases in Pakistan have crossed 50,000 with a death toll of around 1,100.
According to a member of Halaat Updates, the country experienced an increase of over 10,000 cases in a span of just seven days.
Pakistan is going back to normalcy while COVID-19 cases have been on a rise
In the government’s defense, they have eased the lockdown but have asked people to be careful and take necessary precautions. They have also imposed heavy fines on violators of these set guidelines. For instance, a fine of Rs10,000 has been imposed on people not wearing face masks in public.
The government perhaps believes that setting SOPs and asking people to follow them dissolves it from any responsibility. But that is not the case.
Unfortunately for Pakistan, citizens were found violating rules even when a strict countrywide lockdown was imposed in late March. And as soon as the partial ease in the lockdown was announced, citizens flocked to bazaars for Eid shopping.
In such a case, what made the respective governments – federal and provincial – think that setting SOPs and guidelines would ensure people act responsibly?
Moreover, across the globe, shopping malls have been shut as they invite huge crowds. Following mandatory precautions, such as social distancing, becomes almost impossible in these places. And yet, malls have been allowed to operate and so have other non-essential services, such as beauty parlors.
It is not a hard guess that human-to-human contact in parlors is inevitable. More often than not hair salons in the country are situated in compact residential buildings, making it almost impossible to ensure customers are sitting six feet apart from one another.
On the other hand, how is the government going to ensure that parlor and mall staff strictly follow SOPs when it has failed to ensure the same at super markets.
Another member of the group had recently posted complaining about cashiers not abiding by government orders as they were seen without face masks.
The curve in Pakistan has not flattened and health workers have repeatedly requested the government against an ease in lockdown.
With Eidul Fitr just a few days away and no restrictions in sight, it would be fair to assume that Pakistan will be facing an exponential increase in coronavirus cases that hospitals won’t be able to cope with.