Barring the last few days, there has been a decline in the number of the covid-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir. It has led to false optimism that undermines effective use of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as masks and physical distancing.
The pandemic is far from over, with a potentially huge burden of mortality and morbidity to come unless public health measures are used and adhered to.
The Covid data of the past two weeks is a pointer to the persistence of the second wave in several pockets of the country. The positivity rate remains more than 10 per cent in over three dozen districts of the Northeast, the infection graph has been rising in Kerala since June 27, and new hotspots have emerged in Maharashtra.
There are concerns that crowded markets and tourist centres could incubate another surge of the disease.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a video interaction with chief ministers of some states highlighted the point and drew attention to the possible dangers of another wave of the pandemic. He noted that positive cases have been on the rise in Europe and the US with a fast pace, and a similar worrying trend is being witnessed in countries to the east of India like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.
“This is a warning and big alert to the world and to us. We have to keep reminding people that the coronavirus has not gone,” he said, reiterating his concern about scenes of crowds at many places across the country.
The assertion comes days after Home Secretary, Ajay Bhalla, in a letter to administration of all the states and UTs, highlighted “blatant violation” in several parts of the country, especially in public transport and hill stations. He said massive crowds are also thronging the market places, violating norms of social distancing.
In such a scenario, it is imperative that adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) is maintained in letter and spirit in all crowded places, such as shops, malls, markets, market complexes, weekly markets, restaurants and ‘mandis, bus stations, railway platforms, stations, public parks and gardens as well as at all areas identified as hotspots for transmission of COVID19 virus.
The government must continue to focus on the five-fold strategy for effective management of COVID-19 i.e. test-track-treat-vaccinate and adhere to COVID-appropriate behavior.
There is also a need for reiterating clear communication of the risks of COVID-19 to the people and unless that is done, stemming the pandemic will be impossible.