The second wave of COVID-19 is here in Pakistan. The number of new coronavirus cases in the last few weeks has been gradually increasing. Reports indicate that hospital beds for corona-positive patients in several cities have reached maximum capacity.
Pakistan had quite successfully controlled the coronavirus after its first wave. By August, the number of cases had gone down considerably. However, the success was short-lived. Come winter, the second wave was sudden but it spread quite rapidly. The positivity rate has now reached 7 percent in a matter of weeks. It is important that people follow SOPs like wearing a mask, sanitising their hands frequently, and maintaining social distance. Unfortunately, most of us have become careless.
On top of that, both the Opposition and the government are also being irresponsible. Leaders lead by examples but our leadership wants to spend more time in political point-scoring and blame-game than doing something for the people. The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has refused to postpone their rallies despite the fact that it can risk the lives of thousands of people who will be attending those jalsas.
As if the PDM jalsas are not enough of super-spreader events, government officials don’t want to be left behind. Federal Minister Asad Umar, who also chairs the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), addressed a workers’ convention titled ‘Youth of Sukkur’ just yesterday.
Tomorrow, the PDM is holding a rally in Multan. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will be addressing the rally via video link because he contracted COVID-19 after the Peshawar jalsa. Both the Opposition and the government need to stop all public gatherings.
Opposition leaders who are making light of the global pandemic by saying that the government is more dangerous than COVID-19 should really stop. They not just sound absurd but making light of a virus that can be deadly is highly irresponsible. The government, instead of threatening the Opposition and arresting their workers and leadership, should talk to the PDM leadership and talk them out of holding rallies. Such political rallies can hardly be stopped through sheer force. The Opposition really needs to put aside their egos and postpone their rallies for the larger good of the public. If our leadership will not set an example by acting responsibly, the public will not either.
Educational institutions have now been closed. If people are not careful, soon the government may have to close down public places like parks, restaurants, gyms, malls, etc. We cannot take this new wave lightly. People are losing their lives across the world. We must stay vigilant.