Majid Kapra

Decision to ease lockdown restrictions evokes mixed opinions

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Srinagar: The decision of initiating partial unlock in the wake of dip in deaths and positivity rates across the UT on Monday evoked a mixed response from the experts with some terming the move as a right step while others think that the government should have continued with curfew for another week or two.

Doctors Association president Dr Nissar-ul-Hassan says the decision of unlock at this stage is “premature as positivity rate and death is still high”.

“It is matter of life and government shouldn’t have come under public pressure to unlock and should have taken decision on basis of data,” he said. “There should have been an unlock when there would have been 10 percent decrease in cases and deaths on daily basis for one week followed by 5 percent decline in another week.”

He said the government should have waited for the positivity rate to come down to less than five percent.

Dr Hassan also said the genome sequencing isn’t being done at large scale so nobody knows how many variants are presently in the UT.

“Authorities are totally unaware about the real situation,” he asserted. “People are being asked every time to follow Covid-appropriate behavior but there is still some laxity. Virus can bounce back and whatever we had gained in a lockdown of over a month, can go waste.”

He said barely a few percent of population has been fully immunized and most of it is still susceptible to Covid-19.

Dr Muhammed Sultan Khuroo, renowned gastroenterologist and Chairman of the Covid Advisory Committee, said that this is the right time to unlock as government has to think both about the disease and the difficulties people are facing.

“It is guarded and supervised opening as the government is watching the situation keenly. The lockdown cannot be indefinite,” he was quoted as saying by news agency KNO.

Government must speed up vaccination, and make sure that people follow Covid-appropriate behavior.

He said that opening is a dynamic process, and the government is watching situation keenly, checking trends — whether the cases are decreasing or increasing, and then accordingly decisions are being taken.

Dr Khuroo said that government hasn’t given financial assistance to the poor people and a partial opening was need of the hour so that the poor people could earn their livelihoods.

He advised the public to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour in letter and spirit, otherwise “we will be back in trouble!”

“It is the collective responsibility of everybody and nobody should take Covid-appropriate behaviour lightly as carelessness of one person can affect the whole society,” he said, adding that people should go out only when it is necessary and follow SOPs in letter and spirit.

“People should avoid in believing in fake reports and rumours and get vaccinated on priority. Doctors who don’t know anything about the virus shouldn’t talk about it,” he suggested.

Dr Saleem Khan, Nodal officer for Covid-19 at GMC Srinagar and HoD Community Medicine, said that lockdown isn’t a permanent solution as it has repercussions as well.

“People must be careful so that whatever we have gained in during lockdown is spoiled.”

He said that there is ease in restrictions only, and not in adhering to the Covid-appropriate behaviour and if people won’t follow precautions cases and deaths can increase further. (With inputs from KNO)

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