Coronavirus: We must stop brewing myths

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Ironically, most of us have not taken this viral disease seriously. Already infected patients are finding escape so that they should not be quarantined. It’s a universal lockdown, necessary to beat down the virus.

By Nasir Soomro

COVID-19 has unfolded the reality that one person is connected to 7 billion humans living around the world. In this time of great depression when the world is taking very strong measures to prevent and stop COVID-19 spreading and infecting from one human to other, we in Pakistan have brewed so many myths in our society – a Hakeem (Traditional Healer) of the village challenges the advanced modern science of Virology, while a clergyman on the pulpit challenges the social distancing between Muslims which, according to him, poses threat to disintegration in Muslims. Moreover there are so liberal ‘WhatsApp Scholars’ who share the fake news of introducing new methods and medicines. I was startled to notice that people were circulating image of safety kit of COVID-19 as a vaccine.

We owe big thanks to all those working in the healthcare sector during these odd hours and stressful times. Most of the doctors, nurses and medical staff around the world have lost their lives and are standing by their patients. Recently, a young Doctor Osama lost his life in line of the duty. He was to attend a medical course in London, all his dreams died with him unfortunately, whereas in Italy 72-year-old man said to be among at least 60 priests who have died during outbreak, who gave his respirator to younger patient, eventually died of disease. These are shining example of human sacrifice.

I recollect that when I was working with a non-governmental organization on Project of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer in Tharparkar during Flash Flood of 2010, I used to conduct Hygiene Sessions in order to educate people for implementing good practices of Hygiene. Most of the sessions were without distribution of any Hygiene Kit and people used to defecate in the open air, without using the soap afterwards. However, people used to get infuriated as they didn’t have enough food to eat, how they would imbibe these hollow lessons. We needed to ensure the items, so the lesson learned was people are not having sufficient resources to ensure hygienic aura and WHO instructions such as washing hands with soap. Wearing mask, using hand sanitizer can only be implemented when these items are available.

The recent televised address by Prime Minister of Pakistan was welcomed and at the same unwelcomed by the nation. The lockdown was eventually implemented with bated breaths. I do agree with the notion of the PM that the poor section of our society will bear the brunt of the lockdown the most, yet people will not avoid mingling with each other if they are not warned and reprimanded harshly. Albeit, Chief Minister of Sindh took the timely measures to prevent this disease from spreading by closing down schools later offices.

Ironically, most of us have not taken this viral disease seriously. Already infected patients are finding escape so that they should not be quarantined. It’s a universal lockdown, necessary to beat down the virus. If any government fails to contain the threat with iron fist, will face a grave situation. Most of streets in Pakistan are cramped up and closely built, people need to avoid interacting with each other for brief time, besides protection measures must be taken for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading. In our case it is Iran, as most of the pilgrims who have visited Iran, are inflicted with Coronavirus.

Those countries which have taken this deadly disease very lightly have faced the worst consequences, except China, where from this disease originated. Due to strict compliance and constant monitoring, China has controlled this disease. On the contrary, Italy has faced the worst medical crisis. Best health systems are at the breaking point, Pakistan has no option but to prevent and wait for the approved vaccine. People must not use self-approved medicines for corona virus treatment.

The world has witnessed worst diseases like Spanish Flu 1918-1920, Asian Flu 1957-1958, AIDS 1981-present day, H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic 2009-2010, Ebola epidemic: 2014-2016 and now when the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking the whole world, it’s in the human nature to battle the odds bravely for survival, so will the 220 Million people of Pakistan with break free from this current crisis, as we are most resilient nation.

(Writer is a poet and author of poetry collection ‘Peaks and Perils of Life’- Currently he is based in Karachi)

 

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