Niloofar Qureshi

Covid 19: Violating social distancing is asking for trouble!

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With Covid19 having claimed more than one lakh lives across the globe and infected more ten times this number, it’s time that we take this pandemic, which is spreading across the world like a wildfire, very seriously. In Kashmir itself, we have at least 207 Covid19 positive cases and four people have already succumbed to this disease. Since medical science has not been able to produce any vaccine that could prevent Covid19, or come out with medication that can cure this ailment, prevention is the only way to stop this deadly virus from spreading.

It is heartening to see that people in Kashmir are largely following the prescribed precautions, like wearing face masks, frequently washing hands with soap and ensuring social distancing. Yet, there are times when some of us get so emotionally worked up that we disregard precautionary measures and end up doing things that increases the scope of spreading Covid19 infection. One such recent example is the congregation of people for the funeral of Jaish-e-Mohammad militant Sajjad Nawab Dar in Sopore.

Attending funeral processions is a religious and social obligation, but so is ensuring that one doesn’t become a source of spreading this virus within the community that kills people, especially the elderly and infirm. At a time when renowned Islamic scholars from all over the world have advised us to ensure social distancing to the extent of even avoiding offering ‘Namaz’ (congregational prayers) in mosques so as to prevent the spread of Covid19, doesn’t congregating at funerals amount to disobeying the advice of the Ulema? Moreover, what actually matters isn’t where, but the degree of piety with which one offers prayers.

People could have offered prayers for Sajjad at their respective homes to avoid chances of coming together and making this event a platform for facilitating the spread of Covid19 infection. However, while those who congregated for the funeral did act recklessly, but by failing to impress upon the youth not to crowd together, our leaders too have not fulfilled their duty towards our community at this critical time. And since the full responsibility for stopping this virus from spreading entirely falls on us, we cannot afford to take things lightly and behave irresponsibly.

Thus, while our leaders should take the lead in regularly educating the public on importance of strictly following safety precautions to arrest the spread of this infection, we the people shouldn’t get carried away by emotions and expose ourselves to this infection by forming crowds. The important issue that we need to remember is that saving oneself from Covid19 isn’t just a selfish act. Conversely, considering how dangerous this incurable disease is, by keeping ourselves free from Covid19 infection, we are actually fulfilling our duty towards society by ensuring that this virus doesn’t spread within our community.

In the past, we have been blaming New Delhi for all our ills. However, God-forbid, but if Covid19 pandemic engulfs Kashmir, then we won’t be able to shift the responsibility on anybody else. In this case, the success and failure against this life-threatening infection is entirely dependent on how serious we are as far as implementation of preventive measures is concerned. Once this pandemic is over, there will be all the time for us to display our collective solidarity towards ‘freedom fighters’ as well as congregate to jointly offer ‘Namaz’ in mosques and celebrate religious functions. However, till then, we require to exercise self-discipline to ensure social distancing.

The serious danger posed by Covid19 has been further aggravated by reported cases of quarantined patients released after being found free from coronavirus, subsequently testing positive. While South Korea has reported 91 such cases, the number of similar cases in Pakistan is a staggering 453. Due to this new development, the fight against Covid19 will be a long drawn one and any slackness in following precautions, especially social distancing, will only make matters worse for us. Therefore, let us all make it a point to ensure that we take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming carriers of this virus and spreading it amongst our own people!

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