Quarantine, lockdown, and physical distancing are one of the useful ways to minimize the spreading of coronavirus among communities, and if these steps were taken effectively, we would have been in a better position. After the first lockdown of 15 days, we had a clear picture of the affected people and the healthy community The second step should have been the treatment of the infected and the isolation of others. The third step should have be the disinfection of markets and public places while the fourth should have been lifting of the lockdown towards a normal life with extra care followed by strict SOPs. Unfortunately, this has not effectively happened in Pakistan because of several multi-dimensional reasons including failure of proper coordination between federal and provincial governments, the non-serious attitude of the general public toward a pandemic, lack of trust on the government, disobeying of lockdown policies, economic crisis and failure of the government to address the problem of daily income wagers.

One of the main reason for failure is the improper implementation of the lockdown. Markets were opened and hardly 10% of the people use face masks, sanitizers and maintained social distances during grocery and in small markets. Even shopkeepers failed to follow SOP’s resulting in increased local transmission of cases. There have been more than 28000 and deaths of over 600 people and this figure may not be accurate because we do not have enough testing kits for everyone. As the day passes, the graph becomes steeper.

Now the government is going to lift the lockdown without achieving a sustainable decline in new cases and this will lead to growth in the number of cases and deaths exponentially because we don’t have a proper framework with explicit rationale ground to determine how, where and when the relaxation should be given. The first and foremost objective should be to save the lives of the masses by averting the healthcare system’s collapse to prevent the enormous economic damage and with least compromising on people’s emotional wellbeing. There is an emergency need for proper policy making, implementation and adjustment of intervention where necessary to keep the number at an acceptable level throughout the country.

If timely decisions are not be taken, then there would be an unmitigated humanitarian catastrophe waiting for us.

FAYYAZ SALIH HUSSAIN,

Karachi.