The situation in Punjab, specifically in Lahore, as per the summary given by Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Secretary Captain (Retd) Usman Younis to the Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, 600,000 citizens of Lahore are expected to be affected due to the coronavirus. The Government of Punjab is implementing smart lockdown in cities. Areas where the spread is high are sealed and the movement in those areas is restricted. Despite all such efforts, the infection is spreading with each passing day, albeit slowly now; who is responsible for this? The government, the virus, or us?

Should we blame the government for the spread? When concerned departments are working on the streets, in hospitals and in offices just to ensure the safety of people they are serving, without even having enough resources and ignoring their own health. Just recently I saw a news report on TV, where the Director General of Punjab Food Authority Irfan Nawaz Memon raided food points just to ensure the provision of safe food to the public in this crucial time. The primary and secondary healthcare department’s employers are ensuring the dissemination of right information and educating people regarding coronavirus through different mediums. Many other examples are out there which tell us that our government departments are doing their best in their maximum capacity to contribute productively in the contemporary crisis.

Another convenient option to blame is the virus itself, to save face. Unfortunately, people are saying this too. So, for just the sake of record to counter this approach; this is what we call nature. Nature has always had its own way of playing, whether that’s natural disasters e.g. earthquakes, floods, storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruption e.g. or pandemics e.g. Asian flu, black death, Spanish flu and now the coronavirus. We simply can’t fight them, not even can we question; all we can do is to try our best to minimise the catastrophe of such events and find ways to save ourselves from them.

Coming to the last option, us; are we the ones to blame? Unfortunately, the sudden spread might have something to do with us; the population living in Pakistan. Take a tour of markets and other public places, which apparently were opened to save our collapsing economy; they have become a source of entertainment for people But is this needed even in the pandemic?

When people are dying out there, our health workers, government departments and other respective stakeholders are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the safety of people, while we are just throwing their noble efforts in vain. As responsible citizens, shouldn’t we help them, cooperate with them and show a little respect for their efforts? Since the day of ease in lockdown and markets opening people are rushing to markets like wolves. No SOPs are being followed. One core direction given by the health experts, of social distancing has been ignored in a way that there is no pandemic. People are shopping as if there is no tomorrow. No doubt it was not easy for the government also to take such bold and risky steps—easing the lockdown—but they were compelled to do so because of the economic collapse. But our noble departments are trying their best to ensure the wellbeing of the general public and limit the spread of infection. On the other hand, we are not paying heed to their efforts. Such irresponsible behaviour of citizens does not pose a threat to their own lives but can lead to Pakistan into irreparable loss. People also must think over this and follow SOPs. Life is a precious thing we definitely don’t want to burden our families and our country with our deaths. Don’t play with your and your family’s lives, be cautious, and follow SOPs that the government has defined for us even when we have to leave the house for the basic necessities. Take the blame and act responsibly. Leave home only if you have no other option.