Epidemic driven crimes, like attacking health workers, sale of defective medicine, hoarding of supplies, spread of misinformation and the like, have become subject to intense punishment in China. Considering that Pakistan faced, and continues to battle, such misdemeanours, taking on a similar approach can set a precedence against such aggression and restore order in a corona-stricken country.

Throughout the course of the last few months, China has successfully arrested over 5000 individuals who perpetuated this cycle of violence, promoted the scarcity of commodities and tried to manipulate a vulnerable population to their benefit. Not only has this reduced the occurrence of said wrongdoings but it has also enabled the government to show competency and control over a seemingly uncontainable disease—inspiring the faith of the population as a result. This phenomenon is one that Pakistan desperately needs to experience.

COVID-19’s byproduct in our country ranged from the hoarding of goods like medicines, masks, sanitisers, oximeters, wheat, sugar, oil, vegetables and pulses, and petroleum. Not only did their supply run short but they were also sold at exorbitant prices by producers and suppliers. Similarly, medical practitioners, and hospitals as a whole, were subjected to assaults and vandalism during the height of the epidemic, at the hands of a misinformed and emotionally charged population. Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and Civil Hospital Karachi are two of the many institutions where a mob wreaked havoc and forcefully took away bodies of patients against government protocol. Even more appalling is the fact that the British Medical Journal stated that 38.4 percent of the healthcare workers in Pakistan have experienced some sort of violence or the other. While the status quo may seem calm, these are misconducts that still need to be held accountable.

It is imperative for the government to set an example and display a show of force against bodies that practice or endorse this kind of behaviour. Not only will it address the public’s grievances but also correct notions of inaction.