The pandemic of disease caused by the coronavirus is accelerating, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. While it took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, it took only 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases, WHO added. As the WHO came up with fresh statistics, three more people tested positive for coronavirus in Srinagar, taking the total number of cases in Kashmir to four and entire J&K to seven even as one person is said to have recovered.
The government of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered complete shutdown till the end of this month and sealed borders with Punjab. It is also closing border with Himachal Pradesh Ladakh to prevent large-scale transmission of the novel coronavirus and the unprecedented public health calamity it may bring.
Physical distancing of people, ensured through various means including suspension of all public traffic and inter-State bus services, closure of public places, schools and colleges, cessation of all non-essential activity and street-level monitoring, is the first order priority during a pandemic and the lockdown can ensure that. The government is doing it and it needed to be strictly followed. The government must galvanise entire machinery to ensure complete lockdown as well address essential requirements. The present situation calls for massive preparation with all hands on deck to mitigate the impact on people, and to formulate a public health response for the period beyond the shutdown.
The administration is also a duty to ensure that the most vulnerable classes, economically and socially, including the elderly, have access to essential articles including medicines, close to where they live. It should not be difficult to provide to them a package of staples to last a week or so using civil supplies departments, civic workers, and non-governmental organisations.
Also strict action shall be taken against those who are hiding their travel history even though such people are required to disclose it. Such people shall also not escape the mandatory quarantine for the safety of the society at large as well as their own.
Ironically some of such persons have been found to be infected and huge public resources have been expended on tracking, not only these persons, but their several contacts, during the period upto their detection.