‘Savdhani hatti, durghatna ghatti’

Perhaps, it could not be better explained as to what means adopting a carefree and complacent attitude towards precautionary protocol of COVID-19 pandemic which is very much there in the country though subsided a bit largely because of the well articulated and planned Government policy towards fighting it which includes the exemplary services rendered by the COVID warriors and last but not the least, spurt in general public awareness and resultant taking of strict precautionary measures. However, for the last two months because of lifting of almost all restrictions including the cap on the number of the people participating in marriage functions, social gatherings, public meetings etc even though not only the administration but the medical experts having all along been advising to make it a habit to wear masks and maintaining inter-se distance, instances of lapses and recklessness are observed which must be avoided. Having said so, perhaps due to feeling tired of precautionary protocol and plunging into a sort of fatigue or irritation or longing for doing without it, most of the people, now, are seen visiting shops and moving about on roads without masks and even not adhering to keeping reasonable distance. It had like this to do “its job”, since as compared to January, there is witnessed an upsurge in daily new COVID – 19 cases in as many as 5 states including the financial capital of India. Concerned about this unpleasant and unwarranted development, Union Health Ministry issuing a statement that Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, of late, having recorded an increase in reported daily cases of COVID-19 must be a cause of concern. Not only that, some “strains” of the virus known as Brazilian and South African virus(es) have been found though in a few cases only. It is worth noting that Maharashtra and Kerala alone, as on date, account for nearly 76 percent of total number of active COVID-19 cases if the data put out by the Union Health Ministry is to be taken very seriously. Why is it that Kerala continues to record a high number of daily new cases and so does Maharashtra, can only be because of no or less testing of incoming passengers through flights from foreign countries or within the country. Maharashtra, two days back recorded highest new cases in India and there being over 6200 new cases in a span of 24 hours sounding something alarming has forced the administration to impose lockdown like restrictions in some places there. Punjab is recording similarly an increase in new cases continuously for the last seven days and so has Madhya Pradesh too witnessed. These incidents though not indicating that there was a second and new wave of the virus infection calls loudly for adopting a behaviour of strictly adhering to COVID precautionary protocol so as to breaking the chain of transmission and containment of spread of disease. Mass inoculation, even if taken on urgent basis and speedily is not an easy job on two counts. One- such a vast country with such a wide spread area, some measure of time shall necessarily be needed which in other words, means even if done fast but how much fast. Two- mass inoculation needs preparation of relevant data and enough resources of personnel and other infrastructure which even if augmented was still easy said than done. However, the country has surpassed many advanced countries in the number of people having been administered the vaccine but still since the exercise was going to take some more time, adhering to strict precautionary protocol was very important so that the virus does not spread. Since our UT of Jammu and Kashmir is among those 18 states/UTs which have not reported any COVID-19 deaths during t e not reported any COVID-19 deaths during the period of 19th and 20th instant, it should in no way give any room for feeling complacent and carefree. Extra care was needed to be taken as this UT is primarily a tourist destination where tourists from the country and abroad keep coming and all necessary caution and care were needed to be taken at the airport, railway station and at Lakhanpur – the entry point. It will not be out of place to mention that breaking the said protocol should invite fine. Hence constant checking of and identifying those breaching the precautionary norms must be penalised as a deterrent as any liberty taken with precautions shall lead to operation of the maxim of “Savdhani hatti” resulting in “Durghattna gatti