The government of Pakistan approved easing the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the country gradually after May 9, provided that strict implementation of the coronavirus-related preventive measures suggested by the government was ensured. But looking at the activity in public spaces in general, and markets in particular, it is unfortunate that people have entirely ignored the authorities’ instructions regarding preventive measures. The public is not taking COVID-19 seriously at all. They are neither practising social distancing nor following standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The government knows too well that a complete lockdown would affect ordinary people adversely; hence it decided to ease the lockdown. However, the government also rightly asked the masses to be responsible for their own health and avoid future lockdown. The public cannot make demands to open up businesses and neglect to follow the SOPs as well. There must be some compromise.

While people are flocking to markets, the number of COVID-19 cases is rapidly rising. Each neglected SOP, each interaction that is not essential, threatens to spread the virus in an entire group of people. There are numerous cases where one individual has been reported to have infected over 50 people in other countries. With our population numbers, the infection rate stands to be much higher.

The masses must understand that their actions and attitude towards SOPs is dangerous. The sooner they realise this, the better it will be for the country. However, everyone must remember that the government’s decisions are conditional, it can re-impose restrictions on businesses at any time. On its part, the government must take strict action against violations of any kind. The authorities cannot afford people’s negligence as each day of neglect is leading to an exponential rise in cases.