Some 1 million people in the United States have been infected and at least 56,000 have died at the time of publishing this article. Yet, there is no national lockdown in the United States of America. Americans can still travel from one area to another. Because their leaders think rationally and logically and believe that lockdown is not a solution. Even the superpower America has a potential and capability to manage the lockdown effectively. It has a large army, mammoth number of human resource and strong financial potentials. That is why the country has approved more than $2 trillion relief package for its citizens. Yet, there is no national lockdown in the country.
Trump administration knows that it is practically difficult to restrict public into their houses and then providing them basic necessities of life. However, American States have been maintaining social distancing like in Florida, the Governor has ordered that patrons should be separated by a distance of at least 1.8 meter.
Interestingly, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mr Imran Khan invited severe criticism for his same rational approach. He advised the same of social distancing and was against the lockdown. His rational thinking was based on the fact that providing relief to down-trodden classes during the lockdown is practically difficult due to poor management infrastructure. As Chief Minister of Sindh announced lockdown in the province and that the same was followed by Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and then Balochistan, the chief executive of the government of Pakistan than announced a countrywide lockdown, maybe under the provincial government’s pressure.
Sindh province announced to ensure relief to its citizens by providing food and other basic necessities. All other provinces promised same and even Federal government committed in the same manner. The lockdown is going on throughout the country to contain the spread of Coronavirus but Covid-19 cases are increasing day by day. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 13,915 till the time of publishing this article. Besides, the promise made by the respective governments to provide relief to the citizens during the lockdown seems unfulfilled. It is an admitted fact and an unfortunate reality that poor and non-centralized administrative infrastructure and lack of interest of local political leaders have created hurdles in the way of the distribution of relief packages. Maybe the Prime Minister was against the lockdown due this bitter truth.
Anyway, there is a possibility of continuation of lockdown after May 09, 2020. The governments (federal and provincial) must take steps in the right direction to utilize available resources for the benefits of its people.
Firstly, it is an admitted fact that there is chaos in the society due to the scheduled opening of grocery shops and utility stores. Therefore, it is extremely important to open utility stores for 24/7. However, there should be the imposition of Article-144 in the entire country to disburse the crowd. Moreover, government officers t having a centralized national database should be appointed at every utility store who can issue free relief package to needy persons on their national identity cards (CNICs).
Secondly, the district administration should assist the public in maintaining social distancing. For this, Assistant Commissioners, Mukhtiarkars and Station House Officers (SHOs) should patrol in their respective areas for execution of orders. In addition to this, these officers should also aware public of their duty for instance repeatedly washing of hands, wearing of masks and so on.
Thirdly, the government should allow the industrial sector to operate. As the government has exempted farm/agricultural activities from the lockdown, the same should be maintained for the industrial sector and there should be no restrictions on industrial activities. This will help daily-wagers to earn and also support the national economy.
However, there should be strict maintenance of health care measures and again district administration should be made responsible for the strict compliance of the health-care measures.
To encapsulate, the countrywide lockdown will remain in place till May 14 to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. However, all the governments-federal and provincial should adopt a rational approach for the welfare and facilitation of its people. It is high time for the government to adopt such measures which will ultimately ease the prevailing chaotic environment.