Srinagar: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday held an emergency meeting with the Doctor’s Association of Kashmir (DAK) to discuss the serious situation arising die to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Kashmir lately.
President KCC&I Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad expressed concern at the spike in the number of cases despite Kashmir entering the fifth month of the COVID lockdown.
Ashiq said the lockdown imposed since March saw full public cooperation for the initial three months but the months of June and July saw widespread violations of the COVID SOPs.
He said the KCC&I was regularly appealing to the public to follow the SOPs while expressing concern at the gross carelessness and violation of COVID protocols by the public.
Ashiq also expressed concern over unnecessary movement and thronging of picnic spots in Srinagar and other districts. Besides, the abrupt relaxations given in the free movement of people had also caused a wrong impression about the gravity of the situation as a result of which people in general lowered their guard and the consequences were fatal.
While the administration’s focus on capacity building and training of stakeholders was appreciable, the KCCI President said the government had disregarded the importance of enforcement of the SOPs on the streets even though the writing was on the wall as well as in newspapers and social media.
Dr Suhail Naik, President DAK said that the latest spike in Coronavirus infections was worrying and the health infrastructure was under tremendous stress.
Dr Naik said there was a dire shortage of essential items like Grade-A beds and ventilators.
Although the government had initiated the process of procurement, Dr Naik said due to the shortage of these items the world over, it was getting delayed.
He said that the public needed to be much more aware of the dangers of this invisible virus and take all necessary precautions as it was now a matter of life and death of the community.
As per KCCI President, it was unfortunate that despite months of lockdown, the situation had worsened and the community was paying a lethal price for the carelessness of a few.
He urged the government to take effective measures aimed at enforcing the compliance of the SOPs and create better awareness amongst the population about the dangers of COVID-19.
The joint statement by the KCC&I and the DAK said they would jointly carry out awareness tours of the markets and other areas.
The KCCI President said that in the areas not designated as containment zones permissible activities as per the government guidelines needed to be allowed.
He said that the fight against COVID 19 pandemic was a fight in a dynamic situation and we needed to adapt our responses accordingly.
There needs to be a balanced approach as livelihood issues had assumed equal importance in view of the continuing financial stress, the statement added.