SOPs at cattle markets

The festive occasion of Eid-ul-Azha is coming soon as many people flock to cattle markets to purchase their sacrificial animals. However, we need to take extra precautions amid the fourth wave of the coronavirus as cases keep rising across the country.

The traders at the cattle markets have gathered amid complaints about sharply rising livestock prices. Potential buyers have blamed the coronavirus restrictions for the rising prices of animals. This biggest concern, however, is not the prices but the blatant violations of coronavirus SOPs and safety rules.

The government had issued guidelines which called for vaccinating all traders and restricting the entry of elderly people and children. These rules have been thrown out of the window and neither traders nor the staff have any regard for them, risking the spread of the deadly virus.

A large number of people comprising young men frequent these temporary markets not just to buy an animal but rather for recreation. There is also the presence of women and children. It has been noted that most have flouted all precautions such as wearing masks and there is no enforcement. The market authorities claim that thousands of people visit every day and ensuring full compliance is an arduous task.

The Ministry of Health Services has also made it mandatory for all traders and staff at cattle markets to be vaccinated before being allowed entry. There have been vaccination camps set up at various markets but traders are not concerned about receiving the jabs. The complete disregard for safety rules can lead to a surge in coronavirus cases if precautions are not taken.

A visit to the cattle market could lead to easily contracting the virus. The markets can become super spreaders for the virus and the situation in the country remains grim. The Delta variant is dominant and leads to a faster spread of the virus. In cities like Karachi, the positivity ratio has already reached 12 percent which is exceedingly high. It is imperative to show restraint and do not let our festive occasion impact our lives and health.