Srinagar: Sales of face masks, sanitisers, and rubber gloves have shot up once again in the valley, like they did last year when the Covid pandemic first broke out here.
The second wave of Covid-19 has hit the valley hard and people have begun to take precautions once again.
“For some period of time when the first wave of this Covid-19 had subsided, people tended to become less responsible, careless, and did not follow SOPs strictly. This was the reason that we are facing the second wave of Covid-19 and its more severe impact on us,” said Raqeeb Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Srinagar.
Hee added, “To be very honest, we didn’t follow SOPs strictly and there were times when we acted irresponsibly and immaturely. We were out in numbers in public places, there were huge crowds. Now we realise how dangerous it is to be so irresponsible.”
In the pharmacies near SKIMS hospital in Soura, hundreds of masks, sanitisers and gloves are being sold by shopkeepers every day. “In the last 25 days, the demand for masks, sanitisers, and gloves has doubled due to the new Covid,” said Nisar Ahmad, a pharmacy shop manager. He added, “If the situation remains the same, soon the people will face shortage of these things again, as we saw last year in many places”
In Jammu and Kashmir, 15,411 new Covid cases have been confirmed in the 14 days from April 8 to April 21. On Friday, J&K reported its biggest daily Covid-19 tally of 2,204 cases, along with 13 deaths in a day.
Due to the rapidly increasing Covid-19 patients, the authorities have already imposed night curfew in J&K and issued an advisory for public transport to accommodate only 50% of its seating capacity. Also, only 50% of shops in a market can be open on a day, on alternate basis.
Doctors’ Association Kashmir (DAK) president and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan says that following the old norms is not enough to protect from the second wave of Covid.
“The Lancet study has established that the virus is airborne and spreads through the air, which means the safety norms must be changed. Using sanitisers and wearing gloves is good but the quality and material of the mask is more important because tiny airborne particles can find their way in the tiniest of gaps in masks,” he said.
“In the first wave of Covid, large droplet transmission was considered to be the main mode of transmission, and it was thought that the virus can travel only a 2-meter distance. But in the airborne Covid, the particles can travel for a distance of 20-30 feet and can remain suspended in the air for hours. As a medical expert, I think that the authorities should have imposed a complete lockdown for almost 2-3 weeks,” he added.