The covid-19 cases continue to swell, notwithstanding measures announced by the government including penalizing those giving a go by to wearing masks or spitting in public.
The figures tell a story about the fast-spreading of Covid-19: the total fast inches closer to another grim milestone of 20000. The J&K crossed 10000-mark on July 11 and by the end of July 30, the case count stands at 19869
Out of these cases, 7662 are active positive, 11842 have recovered and around 370 have died, mostly in Kashmir. Srinagar district with 113 deaths and the highest number of infected people tops the list on account of the fatalities as well as caseload. Baramulla with at around 70 deaths and 1877 follows even
As most of the active covid-19 cases are concentrated in the Valley. It is challenging to tackle them for the existing healthcare infrastructure given the fact that the worst health crisis has already exposed the gross inadequacies in the health system of Jammu and Kashmir. It is clear that a radical overhaul of the health sector must be an important element of the policy framework and any such effort has to first recognise ground realities. J&K’s poor have historically under-reported illnesses and it should not be surprising as people have to pay for health expenses from their own pockets. Infections have historically been the biggest reason for ailments and hospitalisations in this part of the globe. A lack of personal and perhaps clinical hygiene spread infections and makes citizens even more vulnerable to pandemics such as the current one. Amid this situation, hundreds of people thronged markets across the Valley for shopping for the ensuing Eid festivities. Clearly discernible across the markets was that most of the people throw caution to the wind and hustled through the busy markets without wearing masks. Some shops were crowded as if the pandemic did not exist. The mixing together of normal people with those carrying virus asymptomatically must have happened and one can only hope that the situation does not spiral out of control.
Not long back, the government announced hefty penalties in a bid to make people wear the face masks. On paper, one who failed to wear the mask or spit in public was to be fined Rs 500. The non-payment was supposed to land violator to jail for disobedience of public order under section 188 IPC. Experts have been time and again calling for wearing face coverings. The government by acting the way it did makes the fight against covid-19 a herculean task. One can only hope that the government will act so that rules made by it are not flaunted with impunity.