Restrictions return

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FEARING outbreak of the third wave of the deadly Covid-19, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Wednesday re-imposed a number of restrictions that had been in force in the country prior to Feb 24.

The Centre announced a two-week spring vacation in educational institutions in 10 cities whereas Balochistan and Sindh were suggested to limit attendance to 50 per cent.

It decided to continue smart lockdowns and micro smart lockdowns and reinforce 50pc work-from-home policy and a time limit of 10pm on all commercial activities with immediate effect.

The re-imposition of the restrictions was understandable but the decision confirms the apprehensions that were repeatedly expressed by the health professionals that the Government was moving in indecent haste in lifting curbs, ignoring ground realities.

The situation was no better when restrictions were eased and it deteriorated further afterwards as reflected in higher rate of infected patients and deaths.

There are, of course, concerns about economic and social consequences of the long-drawn pandemic but life and health of citizens are more precious than any other considerations.

Proper vigilance and cooperation of the people can really make a difference as we have seen in the case of Gilgit-Baltistan which has assumed the distinction of becoming the first Covid-free region of the country.

GB’s focal person for coronavirus Dr Shah Zaman confirmed there were no active cases in the region’s 10 districts and all existing patients had recovered.

It is praiseworthy that despite resource constraints, the GB Government was able to control the situation but dangers would remain there as well due to influx of tourists and visitors during summer.

Apart from strict compliance with SOPs, the authorities concerned should also focus on accelerating the pace of the vaccination campaign.

The drive has begun with focus on elderly people and health workers but there is greater degree of hesitation among people due to various factors mainly because of false propaganda.

Surveys conducted by different entities also reveal people have concerns about some particular vaccines and that is why there is no overwhelming response to appeals for registration of the older people for vaccination which need to be allayed on the basis of scientific/clinical evidence.