The first positive case of Covid-19 in our village surfaced on April 30, following which it and five other villages in proximity were declared as ‘red zones’. The entire population of these villages was overwhelmed by fear, every soul feeling like a frightened pigeon. All preferred to stay indoors.
The very next day, the health authorities started mass testing and almost 90 percent population was covered during this exercise. There were policemen, health workers, local volunteers and others who swung into action and closed all entry and exit points of the villages. Local youth volunteered to spread awareness regarding the virus. The first two to three days saw people responding overwhelmingly to the pleas of these volunteers and health workers. But things turned upside down as soon as people started believing in rumours that those identified as Covid-19 positive patients were wrongly declared as such. This was very surprising, rather shocking for us. We were discouraged by people and had to even face insults as some persons brazenly started levelling allegations that the volunteers were forcing them to stay indoors in order to steal their livestock.
Worse followed. People openly began violating the lockdown and could be seen out on streets and in other public places, in such fashion and number as if nothing untoward had happened. Everything seemed to be normal for them. The pleas and counsel that such behaviour could be prove dangerous to their lives and those of their fellow citizens fell upon deaf ears. They wouldn’t even wear face masks or maintain physical distancing.
Consequently, seven more Covid-19 cases were detected in our village. Of these, four patients have recovered whereas remaining three continue to be under treatment. Yet, people of the village are not in a mood to accept the truth. It is very difficult for those who try to make people aware of Covid-19 and its implications but are abused and insulted. Not only the less-educated or uneducated, well-educated people also behave recklessly when it comes to dealing with this pandemic at community level. I find it very difficult even to write on this virus on my social media accounts as people around me still feel that this is a drama (chaal or sazish) and I am part of it. Even those who have recovered from the virus are not ready to accept that they were affected by it. They still feel that they were deliberately declared as corona positive as part of some sinister design.
Now people are roaming around without masks and not keeping distance from one another. The villages routinely see public gatherings for different purposes. Most of the people are not ready to follow the guidelines or take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus. God alone can save us now!