After weeks of a loosely imposed lockdown, life resumed to normal as the government eased restrictions and allowed small markets to reopen. The decision has the authorities to rethink whether they make the right decision.
People flocked to the markets for Eid shopping while others returned to work. The hustle and bustle was seen in major town and cities with the usual traffic jams and congestions. Shopping keepers and the public showed complete disregard for the SOPs and safety precautions. This was more commonly seen in tightly-packed bazaars and markets where implementation is improbable.
The flouting of safety precautions can have far-reaching consequences and has raised fear of a new wave of coronavirus infections. Pakistan is already among the top 20 countries with COVID-19 infections as the number of cases crossed 32,000 and the death toll has reached 700. The testing capacity has gradually been enhanced and more cases are being detected every day.
The government eased lockdown restrictions on the condition that all safety precautions are strictly adhered to. It is our collective responsibility to ensure the implementation of these rules by wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Shopkeepers also have the responsibility to ensure that safety rules are enforced in their business places. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to flout rules and regulations rather than obeying them.
If such a situation continues then the government will have no choice but to impose another lockdown. A second wave of infections is on the cards and another lockdown is inevitable. This could be much longer and stricter which would harm businesses and people even more while we are still reeling from the economic consequences of the lockdown.
It should also be reminded that the situation is far from over and rather cases are surging. Yet people have come back on the street and returned to daily routine as if the pandemic is over. Countries that have emerged from the lockdown did so with the positive attitude and consciousness of the people rather than government orders.
We should inculcate respect for the law and follow the rules as our lives and livelihoods depend on it. We have a fragile health system, a tinkering economy and the lack of a unified policy. Life must certainly go on despite the pandemic but it cannot come at such an exalted price.