Arresting the dangerous trend

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Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on Sunday, in a video message appealed to the people to strictly follow COVID-19 guidelines like wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing to slow the spread of the disease. While acknowledging that the first lockdown had dented the spread of the deadly virus, he noted that following easing of restrictions, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased rapidly in the UT during the last 15 days. He appealed people to follow the protocol during coming Eid-ul-Azha warning that if that the COVID-19 pandemic will spread rapidly if the guidelines are not followed by the people. Earlier, on Saturday, the Lt Governor met with religious leaders of the Valley and sought their cooperation in the battle against Coronavirus. He appealed these leaders to use their influence in the society and make people aware about the importance of following the Covid-19 guidelines. Besides, the J&K administration is regularly issuing advisories through different media asking people to adhere to the guidelines suggested by health experts.

The increase in the number of Covid-19 positive cases and deaths related to the infection is alarming. People have to understand that, at the moment, there is no other way to fight the pandemic but to follow the guidelines – wear face masks, maintain social distancing and hand hygiene. Those who take these guidelines non-seriously are not only treading on a suicidal path but are also endangering the lives of others including their dear ones. Economic activities too are important because people have to work to earn and earn to feed their families but at the same time precautions are a must to ensure the safety of life. No government directives, appeals and advisories can be of any use if people themselves don’t understand that what kind of a threat they are facing if they violate Covid-19 guidelines. In Kashmir, we have already a fragile health infrastructure that has started crumbling down with the increase in Covid-19 patients. Reports suggest that there are no beds available in the hospitals for the patients not to speak of oxygen fitted beds. Ventilators too are in shortage so are the medical and paramedical staff. These realities should dawn on the masses and make them understand that if they don’t follow the guidelines and get infected, what kind of troule and trauma would be in the store.

That said, the administration too has to own the responsibility. Earlier people took the threat seriously and strictly followed the set protocols. But once the administration announced commencement of Amarnath Yatra, opening of gardens and parks and inflow of migratory labourers, people started taking the threat non-seriously. While public transport in Kashmir Valley is not allowed due to the spread of coronavirus, scores of buses loaded with migrant workers are entering the Valley every day. Reports suggest that more than 10,000 such workers have already reached Kashmir and though the authorities claim that the protocol of testing and isolation is being followed, such acts of the authorities dangerously provoke people to take the threats non seriously.

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