Alarming spike in Covid-19 cases
The number of COVID-19 cases more than doubled in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday with 418 fresh infections taking the cumulative infection tally to 3,42,419. Of the fresh cases, 107 were reported from Kashmir and 311 from the Jammu division. Reasi district reported maximum cases (156) while Jammu district stood at second number with 109 cases. The sudden surge has forced the UT administration to impose night restrictions in the entire movement and an order was issued in this regard on Wednesday late evening saying that there shall be complete restriction on non-essential movement in the entire UT of J&K from 9 pm to 6 am till further orders. While the administration is within its rights to issue such orders but it may be pointed out here that night curfew is not going to help slow down the spread of the infection. Such steps may help in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata etc but not in Jammu and Srinagar where there hardly are any social or political activities during night hours. Given the intense cold conditions, life already comes to a standstill in Kashmir in the early evening. So instead of ordering night restrictions, the administration should ensure that Covid-19 related SOPs are followed in letter and spirit. The administration should have special squads posted at crowded places and launch a sustained campaign to ensure that people follow the protocol.
That said, the main onus of defeating the virus lies on the public. People have to understand that they themselves have to defeat the deadly virus. The government, on its part is doing everything possible to contain the spread of virus and the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered across J&K has crossed 1,89,79,313. The government has also launched the vaccination drive for children in the age group of 15-18 and also of boosters for health workers and those above 60. However, the vaccines alone cannot defeat the spread of virus. People need to understand that the virus is very much here and is remerging in different and tricky variants and despite the massive vaccination drive, it is going to stay and therefore following the SOPs is the only way to defeat it. People need to adopt Covid-19 SOPs as a new normal because nothing will change immediately. Despite the vaccination drive, the virus is not going to vanish overnight and therefore taking extreme precautions is the only way to ensure safety from this invisible enemy. It is every individual’s responsibility to ensure that he/she helps in breaking the chain of infection and that is possible only if everyone adheres to ongoing SOPs. People have to behave as responsible citizens and understand that one who doesn’t follow the guidelines is doing utmost disservice to his/her own self, family and the society at large. People of Kashmir have to understand that winters are the worst times for every kind of flue and therefore they have to take extra precautions to ensure that all the Covid-19 related guidelines are followed. People should not become complacent as the medical experts are continuously suggesting that even after getting vaccinated, following of SOPs is a must. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently are the new norms and people should prepare themselves to follow these for a longer period and it is peoples’ attitude that would help to keep this place safe from the new Omicron variant.