The coronavirus lockdown in Pakistan is about to reach its final phase. Earlier government had decided to open shops and small markets ahead of Eid. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Pakistan also ordered to open the shopping malls on 18th May. The government has started to ease out the nationwide lockdown on the pretext of declining economic growth and increasing unemployment. However, as soon as the lockdown was eased, people started gathering in crowded markets like if the virus had magically disappeared.
The situation is really worrying since the total death tally due to coronavirus in Pakistan has crossed 1000 as of the May 20.
Ease In Lockdown Leading to Crowded Markets
The lockdown is being lifted due to its adverse effects on the economy and prosperity. Imran Khan’s government that came to power on the promise of a welfare state (the one in which health, food, education, and shelter are the responsibility of the state) has failed to deliver its promise. Consequently, the government of Pakistan who chose so-called economic growth over lives started lifting lockdown in phases that started from 9th May.
In the ruling of May 18, Chief Justice of Pakistan insisted that there was no point in keeping malls and markets closed. It was ordered to follow SOPs instead of shutting down the businesses but a look at the over-crowded markets reveals that following these SOPs doesn’t seem possible. People seem to have immediately forgotten that the virus ever existed. The crowded markets in which people are roaming without masks and social distancing rules are just making the negligence evident.
People Breaking SOPs For Eid Shopping
It can be seen how people are packing up the queues. It seems like they care more about getting a new pair of shoes instead of getting back to safety.
It is sad when a nation claims that it’s dying of hunger but then it gives off this kind of attitude to the world. These heavily crowded markets can surely intensify the outbreak. It appears that state has also failed in successfully pushing the message across. Further, the people also don’t seem to fathom the reality of how dangerous it is to go out amidst a pandemic caused by contagion?
The government and Supreme court may be trying some kind of social experiment to see how many people survive their decision making capacity and the crowded markets.
Latest COVID-19 Update In Pakistan
Currently the total number of cases in Pakistan stands at 45,898. It means that more than 25,000 cases have been added in just two weeks after reaching 20,000 mark at the starting of the month. It is not understandable as to why this is not an alarming situation for the authorities whose decision may cause millions of people to suffer in the name of herd immunity
The virus has caused more than 1000 deaths till now but luckily, 13,101 people have successfully recovered. Pakistan is the second most worst-hit country in South Asia, after India in terms of the number of cases. But it is the most affected country in the region in term of the number of per million infections and per million deaths
Why The Decision To Lift Lockdown Is Lethal
It might sound exciting to be able to go out and start shopping for Eid ul Fitr which is likely to fall on May 24 but even the people who broke SOPs to do so must have some kind of fear at the back of their mind. From the leaked videos, it can be seen that 90-95% of shopkeepers and customers are not wearing masks, let alone taking any other safety precautions.
Despite lockdown, the coronavirus cases continued to rise exponentially. Now when there is no lockdown, it is feared that infections will rise with a greater pace causing a burden on an already deteriorated public health system.
Either the social distancing rule has been lifted or reformed to stay 0 inches instead of 6 feet apart. Apparently, it is impossible for Pakistani people to feel empathy and maintain some kind of balance between lives and livelihoods. The only hope for those who might get infected because the virus is to wait for a vaccine that is not likely to be available for the masses sooner than 12 months at least.