Akeel Rashid

Coronavirus does not stick to a schedule

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When armed conflicts broke out in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria, the haves of these countries fled; escaping from death and destruction. And it goes without saying that the well-to-do families in Kashmir would also prefer to escape the bouts of unrest to stay aloof from the chaos. But the situation is different today: we have nowhere to go as our homes are our only refuge. The suffering due to coronavirus is so randomly distributed. No one can escape it. There is no denying the fact that everyone is facing immense difficulties amid coronavirus pandemic. However, it would be a gross injustice to so many people to describe these difficulties unequivocally. Speaking of which, some difficulties can be measured on a scale of one to ten, whereas others know no bounds. With no normalcy in sight, the simple fact of the matter is that being alive is like an emergency for human beings.

The administration is doing all that it can. Police is working 24/7 to ensure strict implementation of lockdown. Unfortunately, there is a huge mismatch between government policies and public attitude. The people should collectively recognize the importance of isolation for the greater good. We can’t get back to normal life until all infected patients are isolated. People can’t just rely on enforcement measures but adopt a collective approach and culture to curb the local transmission of the disease. We all need to use the ‘common sense’ because our chances of survival are completely linked to it. This is the absolute bare minimum. And here is how to get a dose of common sense. As the impact of Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, there is enough proof to conclude that unlike us, the coronavirus does not work from sunup to sundown. Monday to Saturday and then take Sunday off. It is working 24/7 to create victims. While rendering our clocks useless, it has become one. We must remember that the coronavirus is an insidious disease and while going out of our homes, we have to see what is not there and not what is there.

ALSO Read: How do we continue to sustain the coronavirus lockdown?

Many people in Kashmir have come forward to do their part in COVID-19 fight. They are assisting the administration in imposing an effective lockdown. The youth in many villages of district Baramulla, who spoke to me about their volunteer work, are losing sleep ensuring better implementation of shelter-in-place orders. But these people alone should not carry the burden of the present situation and it must be shared fairly. Apart from offering assurances and stringent guidelines on the lockdown, the administration must figure out other ways to motivate people to stay indoors. The police may already be falling short of the policemen required to implement the lockdown. In this situation, making locally based scientific predictions about the pandemic will work effectively as it can be done remotely. These predictions will shape the perception of people and let them weigh the outcome of their carelessness and irresponsible actions. This will spare us from keeping enough boots on the ground to enforce the lockdown. That being said, there are none so far. The pandemic calls for a blatant evaluation of the situation so that people are made to comprehend the grave risks of further spread of the virus. The videos made from the intensive care units in Italy, New York and the United Kingdom – worst coronavirus hit countries – are warning rest of the world ‘not to take any chances’. If it does not scare us, the grim realities of our fight against COVID 19 will, because we are no strangers to illness and tragedy.

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