The outbreak of deadly COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on each and every household in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent it from spreading, forcing the government many times since 2020 to come up with stringent measures including the imposition of lockdown across the Union Territory.
Besides imposing lockdown, the government as well as the health experts made fervent appeals to the general public with regard to the following of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), guidelines and protocols to stay safe and healthy.
There was laxity with regard to protocols from the people from time to time, which resulted in a surge in the number of daily Covid cases in J&K. However, the enforcement agencies including the Army, Police and other security forces played a tremendous role on the ground in ensuring that the guidelines and protocols are followed in spirit.
The security forces other than ensuring peace on the ground, have remained on the streets, roads for days together to prevent the gatherings that could have resulted in a steep surge in the cases from any locality of J&K.
There is no iota of doubt that the doctors, who are being considered as the frontline warriors, risked their lives while treating the patients, who catch the virus since the outbreak of the disease. Nonetheless, the lockdown enforcement agencies too deserve the commendation for playing a pivotal role in fighting the virus on the forefront.
The situation after last year, turned ugly once again in April this year when J&K witnessed a second wave of Covid, which left more than 2000 people dead and infected over 50,000 people as well. However, the government once again came up with a series of preventive measures including imposition of lockdown, closing the public parks, sports and other things in the Union Territory.
After two months, the situation has relaxed to a large extent with the active support of the people, who stayed indoors and also followed the Covid protocols in letter and spirit to help in combating the virus. The decline in the number of cases since the outbreak of the second wave of Covid, has given relief to the frontline warriors including the doctors as well as the security forces.
The flow of patients has finally started declining with the reports suggesting that the patient has declined at four major hospitals in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir by 50 per cent, which indicates the government measures as well as the work done by the frontline workers has proven fruitful.
With the decline in the cases, the government in Jammu and Kashmir has started easing the curbs in the last three weeks, allowing people to come out to earn their livelihood. Out of 20 districts, the government has put an end to the weekend curfew in eight J&K districts while 12 districts will continue to reel under the restrictions on Saturdays and Sundays in order to prevent the deadly virus from spreading.
However, the government has also stated that the night curfew across J&K will continue till further orders.
The relaxations in restrictions must not be mistaken as the pandemic has ended. It is there and can take a U-turn anytime, thus, putting responsibility on the shoulders of the people, especially traders, transporters and others to ensure that the mandatory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are obeyed and followed in letter and spirit.
A single mistake can land Jammu and Kashmir in a disastrous situation one again. Therefore, despite curve flattening, adherence to the guidelines, rules, protocols and SOPs are the key to ensure a favorable situation on the ground and is the only way-out to ensure a healthy society.
The SOPs are the key to combat the virus and are the only weapon to fight the deadly pandemic. Prevention is always better than cure. Thus, wearing face masks, maintaining social distance, washing hands frequently should be followed as routine to ensure that the pandemic that has devastated many families, will be eliminated once for all.
Besides following SOPs, the people must put aside the reluctance and turn up at the Covid vaccination centres, which as per the health experts help in generating the immune system. There is a need to receive the Covid vaccine jabs that help in fighting the virus.
(The writer is executive editor Lake City Times and can be reached at email@example.com)
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