THE second wave of Covid-19 is so far proving to be more fatal and dangerous as over the last one week or so, more than two thousand new infections have been reported on a daily basis with fatalities are also on the higher side. The same kind of observations was also made by Islamabad High Court (IHC) whilst hearing a case on Wednesday directing the government to stop big gatherings.
Indeed the current situation warrants extreme caution and everybody has to fulfil its responsibility in this regard. Undoubtedly, the government has taken some timely measures and announced new restrictions including ban on public gatherings and indoor wedding ceremonies to curb the spread of the virus. However, a lot more needs to be done to achieve the desired results. Firstly as noted by the High Court, the government itself should stop holding large gatherings. It will then provide a moral ground to the government to ask others including the opposition parties to follow suit. Indeed it is no time for politics or point scoring, and the opposition parties must also demonstrate responsibility and postpone their gatherings for the time being until the situation improves. In the areas where smart lockdown is imposed, the local administration should not only block the entry but must also ensure the compliance of SOPs. Religious scholars must be taken on board again to ensure compliance of health guidelines at the mosques. There is also a proposal of the Education Ministry to close the educational institutions from November 24 till January 31st next year in phases as part of extended winter vacations. The proposal shared with the provincial governments suggested that the primary schools be closed from November 24, middle schools from December 02 and higher secondary schools from December 15. Educational institutions have so far proved to be more compliant towards observing the health guidelines. However, whilst travelling in school vans and buses, the social distancing cannot be observed. Though the pandemic has already badly hurt the education of our children but no compromise can be made on their health. Hence, we support the idea of phased closure of schools. In case the situation does not deteriorate, the secondary and higher secondary schools should not be shut.