After more than a month of lockdown, the federal cabinet has approved easing restrictions in the country gradually after May 9 to open earning facilities to workers and daily wage earners. This means businesses of garment/cloth, shoes, automobile and spare parts will be reopened, a touch of normalcy in these dystopian times.

It is understandable why the government has decided to ease the lockdown. In Pakistan, which hosts a large number of daily wage workers, economic devastation caused by the lockdown could have been more fatal than the virus. The cost imposed by economic and social distancing could have been large in terms of immediate deprivation and hunger. It is sensible for the government to selectively ease the lockdown for certain businesses and industries, whose employees depend on their livelihood for survival.

Yet the easing of the lockdown does not mean the worst of the pandemic is over. The lift in lockdown restrictions is happening despite a surge in cases that crossed the 22,000 mark with over 500 deaths in the country. It is important that in the upcoming briefings, the cabinet balance the ease of restrictions on businesses with more severe guidelines on non-essential social gatherings.

No-one can predict with certainty what the right decision in these circumstances is. The pandemic is a natural catastrophe, which has changed the world as we know it – governments can only consider all the present information to gamble on the best decision to protect all segments of its society and hope for the best. It is important to remember that we, the people, also harbour responsibility for how government decisions will turn out. In nations like Germany or Denmark, which have eased the lockdown, conditions have been relatively stable due to the unity of the people and the trust they place in their government. The citizens must play their part too to alleviate the risks of the ease of lockdown by exercising social responsibility, charity and above all, hope that the path taken is proven to be the best one as time passes.