By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: As the COVID-19 lockdown has been relaxed in Kashmir, officials and experts are urging people to follow the SOPs to prevent another spell of restrictions.
New Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Arun Mehta while chairing a meeting to review the containment measures reiterated the ‘zero-tolerance’ policy of the government towards COVID inappropriate behavior and asked the departments to promote its awareness among general masses through wider IEC activities including advertisements and radio talk shows. “People flaunting such an inappropriate behavior in disregard to the laid down SOPs should be penalized for jeopardizing public health”, he said.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, P K Pole, while addressing a news conference here earlier this week had said, “The Covid protocols are already known to the people, but little carelessness is there. We should be careful towards the following of Covid protocols to avoid the situation turning into an awful one.”
It’s in place to mention here that the administration had imposed a nearly 4-week long lockdown across Kashmir last month after the spike in COVID-19 cases. After a decline in the number of cases and the mortality rate, the government relaxed the restrictions by allowing markets to reopen in a phased manner. It also directed the transporters to ensure that SOPs are not violated while ferrying the passengers from one place to another.
A medico said, “If people don’t want the lockdown to return they should follow the SOPs in letter and spirit. Washing hands, maintaining social distance and wearing masks are must to keep the virus at bay.”
He said, “Situation in the hospitals is improving and patient rush has declined but things are far from normal. People will have to act responsibly, and get vaccinated at the earliest. Lifting lockdown doesn’t mean that the COVID-19 has gone. It’s very much there and we have to be extra careful to keep it away. If we don’t take precautions the administration won’t be left with any other option other than imposing another lockdown.”
Soon after the markets had reopened Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) had appealed to all members of the business community and people to follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad and general secretary, Farooq Amin, had urged all business stakeholders to get vaccinated.
They had termed lifting of lockdown as a big relief for daily wagers, traders, transporters and shopkeepers and others. “To prevent the administration from imposing a lockdown again, the general public should demonstrate utmost caution in order to limit its impact on our already devastated economy due to successive lockdowns,” they had said.