PEER SHAISTA SHAKEEL
A spark neglected burns the house. That is what we must remember right now. There was a time when people of Kashmir were confident of not being affected by the coronavirus. But what has happened since has made a mockery of that misplaced confidence. The number of infected persons is rising every day. Not hundreds but thousands have been caught by the microscopic creature. Now the question is, was it our arrogance, or negligence, that brought this calamity upon us?
Covid-19 has not only taken lives and put people on ventilator, it has devastated the economy and put a complete stop to tourism. Economic packages have been rolled out by governments the world over to deal with this recession-like situation. There is complete economic collapse. The superpowers of the world have been rendered helpless before the virus. But the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially of Kashmir valley, are yet to realise the seriousness of the situation. Their laxity confounds logic. Covid-19 seems to them a hoax, a bluff. Maybe our past experiences in this convoluted place have led us to disbelieve anything told to us. No doubt we have been victims of false Cry Wolf alarms many a time. But let us believe this time and make ourselves and our loved ones secure.
The recent surge in Covid-19 cases and the escalating death rate in the valley is testimony to the fact that the situation has become grave. If our carelessness remains unchecked, it will lead to grievous consequences. The people of the valley are roaming around and crowding markets. The precautions are thrown to the winds. No masks, no social distancing, no following of SOPs. Social gatherings are held without any fear. The way we are behaving suggests that no entity like coronavirus exists. By behaving so we are being “Covidiots”. It seems that wisdom has gone on a long leave and idiocy has taken its place.
Nations with the best health care systems have lost to the virus. We are a part of a third-world country and we must understand that the only way to defeat this pandemic is by defending ourselves. We are battling with an unseen creature. We are fighting a war with nothingness. The virus spreads from respiratory droplets and from contaminated surfaces. A recent report from WHO confirms airborne transmission of the virus. Kashmir valley has reportedly reached the community transmission stage, where people get infected but the source of infection cannot be traced. To wriggle out of this situation, we all have to work at the individual level. It is time to realise that nobody is immune to the coronairus. We have to shun our arrogance. Let us open our eyes to distinguish the right from the wrong. Lockdown may or may not be the perfect solution, but we have to follow the government’s directives. We must also change our perception of the virus. We must see it for what it is: the spark that can burn down our house.