The bans begin


This may be our last chance to control the rapidly spreading second wave of the coronavirus before it completely overwhelms the healthcare infrastructure as well as the economy. The government has upset owners of marriage halls and similar facilities by finally announcing a ban on indoor functions that make for the ideal habitat for the virus to multiply. But it was the right thing to do and everybody should be prepared for the scope of the bans to expand. Already restaurants, etc, have to shut down indoor dining by 10pm, and then only continue for takeaway orders and deliveries. Offices that can afford it are also directing people to work from their homes while the rest wait for business-as-usual to stretch as much as possible before they are also forced to adjust all over again. And a very crucial decision about keeping schools open is expected very soon.
The government’s concern is understandable. Surely it knows very well that the economy would not be able to handle another comprehensive lockdown, since it is privy to the real state of the reserves and the loan repayment schedule, but if the rising trend is not checked right now then that is exactly what we are headed for; a very severe collapse. Low growth, high prices and rising unemployment have already combined to push a large bulk of the population right to the edge. If offices are closed once again and families that had just begun to get back on their feet are thrown down, there’s no telling just what kind of situation could emerge from the chaos.
Therefore the coming few weeks will test the sense of responsibility of the Pakistani nation. It is very unfortunate that just by refusing to follow SOPs and social distancing rules we, as a nation, wasted one of the rarest of opportunities. For how we managed to control the first wave of the virus was nothing short of a miracle, which is why we drew praise from all over the world. All that all of us need to do then was to just act responsibly and get stronger with time since our economy opened up ahead of most other countries of the world. Yet we made a joke out of a very serious matter and now that opportunity is in very real danger of going begging. Hopefully the people will follow all the important rules this time and help the government in stopping the virus dead in its tracks.