SRINAGAR: Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Saturday held an emergency meeting Doctor’s Association of Kashmir (DAK) to discuss the serious situation prevailing with regard to the increasing number of positive cases and deaths in Kashmir.
A statement said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, President KCC&I expressed concern at the spike in the number of cases despite Kashmir entering the fifth month of the COVID lockdown.
“The administration had imposed a strict lockdown and the public had extended all cooperation for the initial three months but the months of June and July saw widespread violations of the COVID SOP’s,” the statement.
Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad stated that the KCC&I was regularly appealing to the public to follow the SOP’s and on the 6th of July, 2020 issued a strongly worded press note expressing concern at the gross carelessness and violation of COVID protocols by the public.
“Whereas most of the markets witnessed very less movement of people and customers were being advised to wear masks the public on the roads appeared to have totally abandoned the wearing of masks,” he said.
“Unnecessary movement and thronging of picnic spots in Srinagar and other districts was observed. The abrupt relaxations given in the free movement of people has probably caused a wrong impression about the gravity of the situation,” he added.
“People, in general, lowered their guard and the consequences are fatal. The administration while focusing on capacity building and training of stakeholders which is appreciable perhaps disregarded the importance of enforcement of the SOP’s on the streets even though the writing was on the wall as well as in newspapers and social media,” he further added.
Dr Suhail Naik, President DAK stated that the situation was indeed worrying and the health infrastructure was under tremendous stress.
“There was a dire shortage of essential items like Grade-A beds and ventilators. Though the Government had initiated the process of procurement but due to the shortage of these items the world over, it was getting delayed,” said Dr Naik.
He stated that the public needed to be much more aware of the dangers of this invisible virus and take all necessary precautions as it was now a matter of life and death of the community.
Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad said that it was unfortunate that despite months of lockdown, the situation had worsened and the community was paying a lethal price for the carelessness of a few.
He urged the Government to take effective measures aimed at enforcing the compliance of the SOP’s and create better awareness amongst the population about the dangers of COVID-19.
In this endeavour, the KCC&I and the DAK would also jointly carry out awareness tours of the markets and other areas.
Shiekh Ashiq Ahmad said that in the areas not designated as containment zones permissible activities as per the Government guidelines needed to be allowed.
He said that the fight against COVID 19 pandemic was a fight in a dynamic situation and we needed to adapt our responses accordingly. There needed to be a balanced approach as livelihood issues had assumed equal importance in view of the continuing financial stress.