Jammu and Kashmir has reported a significant drop in COVID -19 cases. Nearly 400 cases are being reported in the union territory on an average daily.
Having said so, the pandemic is not over. Doctors have warned of an early third wave as people have started violating the COVID safety norms in Kashmir. Official data reveal that 46991 people have been fined for violating COVID -19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and 59 have been arrested in the last two weeks. A fine of Rs 70, 49,980 has been recovered from the violators, and 24 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been lodged during the period.
Not wearing facemasks, violating social gathering norms, and not maintaining physical distancing are some of the violations that police encounter almost daily. After Unlock 2.0, people seem to have become complacent. SOPs are being flouted at will. From marketplaces to public transport, people can be seen without masks.
People are repeating the mistakes committed during Unlock 1.0. Most of us had thought that the pandemic is over and we had shunned masks and social distancing. A few months later, the virus returned with a vengeance. Infections surged and fatalities touched the new high. In the second wave, Jammu and Kashmir recorded 37 percent of its total COVID-related fatalities. As per the figures, the death toll on April 30 was 2283, which increased to 3662 on May 25.
What has set the alarm bells ringing is the Delta Plus strain, a new variant of COVID-19. The first case has been detected from the Jammu division. Delta Plus variant has surfaced at a time when the union territory is showing a remarkable improvement in the battle against the pandemic.
Doctors say it takes two years for a pandemic to settle down, which means COVID is like to remain till September 2022. Cases are fewer as of now, but we have to follow COVID-appropriate behavior. The use of masks is most important and so is limiting people in closed spaces.
Vaccination holds the key to create herd immunity. Jammu and Kashmir government has gone into an overdrive to vaccinate people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged the nation to overcome vaccine hesitancy. In his monthly `Mann ki Baat’, PM Modi urged people not to believe rumors about vaccines.
District Commissioner, Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad has issued orders asking shopkeepers and business establishments to allow only vaccinated customers to prevent the spread of COVID 19. Any person wishing to go shopping has to carry a vaccination certificate or a valid COVID negative test report. Special inspection teams of magistrates and police have been formed to check violations of COVID 19 guidelines.
Despite administrative measures, the onus lies on the people. Let us accept the fact that the virus has not vanished. It is lurking somewhere. Health experts and administrators are preparing for the third wave. People too should show maturity and adhere to SOPs. Stop being Covidiots!