Virus crisis in Ramazan

We are observing the second Ramazan under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic as the third wave has intensified and the government struggling to enforce safety precaution.

The statistics portray a grim picture of the prevailing situation in the country ravaging the urban areas. We have surpassed the grim milestones of 750,000 cases and 16,000 this week. There have been over 100 deaths daily for over a week. The global death toll has crossed three million. Our neighbour India is grappling an adverse crisis facing shortage of beds and oxygen in hospital. Yet, we have shown complete disregard for enforcing safety precautions and shown apathy for the crisis.

The month of Ramazan will be crucial in determining whether we can flatten the rising curve of infections. While the government has imposed restrictions such as closing markets on weekends, there are flagrant violations by citizens who continue to throng public places. As closure timings are reduced, people flocked to markets and business centres without even simple precautions like wearing a mask.

The prime minister has said the nation cannot afford a lockdown which can be accepted. However, the government also allowed mosques to remain open during Ramazan to appease the religious community but the increased attendance and lack of safety precautions could flare up infections. This calls for drastic measures or else the situation could get out of control.

To make matters worse, the government’s response in vaccinating its citizens has been abysmally slow. This is good reason to worry. The government has opened restrictions for citizens aged 50 and above but has failed to procure the vaccine. The jabs which we were expected to receive from COVAX have been delayed as India stopped exports for their domestic needs.

Pakistan needs to inoculate 40-50 million people by the year end but has only vaccinated 1.1 million. The government has even launched an awareness campaign to encourage vaccinations. If we fail to do so, we would witness another more serious wave in the upcoming winter. This implies that we may have seen the worst of the pandemic, things could turn even worse. Although Ramazan is the month of blessings, we must not forget that we are still in the midst of a crisis and should protect our lives and those around us.

 

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