Experts have time and again stressed that apart from lockdowns, public health and social measures remain the key to stop virus transmission. Last week, the government ordered partial lockdown amid persistent demand by the local business community for compensation for the losses incurred by them due to lockdown forced by increasing number of covid-19 recently. In last month, 1625 Covid-19 deaths were reported, nearly 42% of the total fatalities reported in J&K so far since the start of the pandemic in March last year.
During the month of May, 114359 cases were added to the overall tally with the highest single day count ever recorded on May 7 when 5443 infections were confirmed officially. The J&K also saw its highest daily toll on May 17 when 73 people succumbed to the virus.
As has been pointed out by the experts, the government cannot go for the perpetual lockdown and at some point in time easing or lifting of the restrictions become imperative. Last week, the government decided to go for partial unlocking, allowing shops and other businesses to open with riders. However, there is unease among the traders in some districts including Srinagar where shops and other businesses are practically allowed for just for one day given the fact that corona curfew shall continue from 8pm on Friday to 7 am on Monday every week till further orders. For all practical purposes, the day’s time is too little to make earnings for a week for most of the traders and also is fraught with danger of having more people rushing for shopping in a given day. Under all circumstances local epidemiology and risk assessment, including capacities of health systems, should guide decisions regarding imposing and lifting curbs, partial or full. It is also imperative that any decision should serve the purpose.
Regardless of lockdowns, it is imperative to note that public health and social measures remain the key to stop virus transmission. Government should continue to make efforts to test, trace, isolate, and treat while urging people to practise cough etiquette, hand hygiene and physical-distancing.
Epidemiologically it is difficult to predict where the wave is heading but experience from several countries in the last one year shows that implementation of public health measures and adoption of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour remains vital to curtail virus transmission. Also, the synergies between policymakers, medical experts and the public at large, must be strengthened continuously.