Mask-up and stay safe

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Following the fresh spike in reported cases of Covi-19 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Lt Governor administration has ordered closure of schools unpto 9th class for two weeks and for 10th to 12th for a week. The decision was made in the wake of reports pouring in from different areas regarding teachers and the students testing positive for coronavirus. Parents had started panicking and some had already decided not to send their wards to schools. The sudden surge is not J&K specific but entire nation is facing the challenge with highest number of cases being reported every day. The one day reported cases in the country have even crossed hundred thousand mark. Of late, the number of such cases had gone down and Jammu and Kashmir would record cases in two digits only. However, the numbers have again jumped to three digits. It is alarming and should make people think that what is going wrong and where. Fact remains that vaccination is going on in Jammu and Kashmir smoothly. With new directive, now anyone above 45 years of age can get the vaccine shot. The availiblity of vaccine had given a hope that unlike 2020, this year (2021) would be safe for humans. However, the recent surge has once again put a big question mark regarding fight against Covid-19.

The increase in the cases is unfortunately being witnessed as Kashmir’s tourist season had started picking up. People from all over the country had started revisiting Kashmir and the authorities here too had geared up to attract more and more tourists. But the surge in Covid-19 cases has again put the tourism sector in jeopardy. This situation is worrisome and those involved with tourism sector are watching it with fingers crossed. The government has to do something to ensure that no one with Covid positive is allowed to enter Kashmir and for that it need not to stop the tourist flow. A simple advisory need to be issued to all states and airports that those willing to visit Kashmir should carry a Covid negative report issued by their respective health authorities not later than 48 hours before their travel. Such an advisory would ensure that tourist flow doesn’t get impacted and also that no one carrying the virus would travel to Kashmir.

The government also needs to deal with the situation with utmost care. Observing Tulip festival was appreciable step as it had every potential to attract tourists to Kashmir and provide the much needed oxygen to the, otherwise, dying industry. But government needs to have proper management of such events. Sadly the Covid-19 protocols were not followed strictly. Crowds were seen mingling without maintaining social distance. Same scenes were witnessed at Badamvari. The administration is duty bound to ensure that Covid related SOPs are followed at all tourist destinations. Secondly, the process of vaccination needs to be widened and it should be ensured that more and more people get the required doses.

Though the vaccine has come a big relief to all the humans world over, however, the recent surge in Covid-19 cases is an indicator that humans themselves are not much serious to defeat the pandemic. The availability of vaccine and coming down of Covid -19 cases made people complacent and that is the basic reason for surge in such cases. People have to understand that the virus is very much there and therefore they should strictly adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines and follow all the precautions. While being cheerful about the availability of vaccine, they need not to lower the guard. They have to understand that while the government machinery all over is making all efforts to ensure the vaccination of masses, there still are many slips between the cup and the lips. Of late, face masks have been vanishing and people are seen mingling in crowds without caring about social distancing. This unhealthy trend is helping the corona virus to resurface and spread again. This trend is to be stopped. Adherence to wearing masks and maintaining social distance is the key to remain safe. People have to make masks a permanent feature of their dress code.

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