Public Transport  

Since the start of the New Year, there has been an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, the highest ever daily spike in cases since the start of the pandemic has been breached with 6570.   These are worrying signs especially when the experts have warned that the 3rd wave driven by the omicron variant is all set to peak in the next week or so. Such a situation demands preempting dangers. All measures are needed to be taken to prevent further spread and it needs collective fight. In such a scenario, public transport remains central and critical.  The Director Health Services Kashmir is all set to hold a meeting with various transport unions. Here is hoping that the meeting which is expected to be attended by police officers and regional transport officer Kashmir will evolve some mechanism which will ensure that public transport becomes safer.

When lockdown to prevent covid-19 first wave from spreading, the shutdown of the public transport was central to it. Also, when restrictions were eased, the public transport resumption was not among the activities allowed immediately. Then, the administration held many meetings with transporters, drivers, and others associated with the sector to educate them about dos and don’ts. Services of leading experts were utilized. The government was perfectly right in the endeavor.

Locking the public transport now is implausible. However, the violations of social distancing and goby to wearing face coverings such as masks should not be allowed especially when the cases of covid-19 are spiking. While it is true that cowering in fear of the virus can no longer be an option, as sustenance of everyday life has to be ensured, the government and people cannot take things for granted. For activities to continue, both the government and the public must not allow virus transition at all.

The experience of the first and second waves shows that lockdowns – national or state level – have caused irreparable damage to millions of livelihoods. The complacency of people concerning hygiene and flouting of advisories, as per the experts, have been responsible for the surge in the cases. Advisories need to be taken seriously given that the virus surge is linked to affecting livelihood besides life itself. There should be no laxity in enforcement of Covid Appropriate Behaviour.


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