As the country has been witnessing a real surge in COVID-19 cases for some days, the government has heralded the arrival of the second wave of the virus. Our previous experience with the coronavirus tells us how just a few cases can quickly lead to a public health emergency. Given the present lower humidity and temperatures, experts anticipate a sharp increase in the number of positive cases. Therefore, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) decided to implement all safety protocols strictly.

Ever since the government eased the lockdown, the people started violating the guidelines as if the pandemic was over. The so-far lax behaviour of people can put the country in trouble once again. People roaming without masks in markets of even the once hotspots of COVID-19, i.e., Islamabad and Lahore, and observing no social distancing are a common sight. It is a test for the government to ensure that people adhere to the guidelines issued by the NCOC.

However, the government must lead by example. Unfortunately, the entire political leadership, both the ruling coalition and the opposition, is not leading by example. The negligence on their part to observe the safety measures sends a wrong message to the public at large. We saw political leaders calling press conferences where no one follows social distancing. We witnessed a few attendants wearing masks in such gatherings. Similarly, the opposition parties’ rallies across the country are being held without any adherence to the prevention mechanisms whatsoever.

Such is the scheme of things in the country at present. How can one find the advent of the second wave of COVID-19 beyond comprehension? If collective action is not taken immediately, the new wave can devastate us beyond our imagination. True, the first wave did not hit us as poorly as predicted. However, thinking that the second wave will be equally kind is a foolish assumption. We cannot continue to test our luck.