It is easy enough to call for the closure of all public transport when private vehicles are so commonplace in urban centres, but we often tend to forget that a vast majority in our biggest cities travel to work using the public system. The decision to reinstate public transport by the KP and Punjab authorities comes as a result of the suggestion of the federal government. At this point with private cars on the road in numbers, not allowing for public transport would be tantamount to depriving the poor of their right to movement.

With cases rising at a feverish pace – the number stood at 38000 up until Saturday and is bound to have risen since then – this move might seem counterproductive to the efforts against coronavirus, but has been deemed necessary. All of the government’s efforts in easing the lockdown have been directed towards ensuring that the poorest sections of the public get maximum relief.

The industries and sectors that have opened so far are the ones that stand to employ and utilise unskilled labour, but all those measures are meaningless if the average labourer cannot even travel to their place of work. Opening up shops and sites of construction can only be feasible if means of transport provide access to them.

At this point, all that is left is for the government is to ensure that there is absolute adherence to all the standard operating procedures. The situation is as dangerous as it could ever be. Public transport stands to make things significantly worse, especially if the government lets its guard down. Private contractors must also fall in line and not let profit or greed lead to a swift rise in infections due to usage of public transport. We can only hope and pray that this decision does not end up as one we will regret in the months to come.