On April 22, 2021, roughly a year and a half since the initial reports of the coronavirus, India has recorded the highest number of cases in a single day once again. The country reported 314,835 news cases and finds itself in the middle of a devastating second spell.
Well wishes from Pakistan, and across the world, have been going out to India. The country is struggling to cope, with their hospitals running beyond full capacity and a nation-wide shortage of oxygen. Countries and individuals of the world have offered their help. In a letter to Indian PM Narendra Modi, philanthropist Faisal Edhi, son of the late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, has offered to help by sending 50 ambulances to India along with their full service, saying he and his organisation have kept a close eye on India's ongoing struggle.
PM Imran Khan also took note of the tragedy, and feared the worst for Pakistan. He urged people to follow the government's SOPs and help curb the spread of the virus because Pakistan's weak healthcare system will be in shambles if an India-like crisis hits us.
Addressing the nation after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee, he said: "I am appealing to you to follow SOPs so that we don't have to take steps that India is taking which means imposing lockdowns. Half the problem is solved when you wear face masks.
"If our circumstances become the same as India, then we will have to close down cities. We can't do that because, as experience has shown, the poor suffer the most when lockdowns are imposed," he added.
Regretfully, PM Khan noted, "We have been asking people to follow precautionary measures. But we have seen that people have become careless."
Its not just the prime minister who's urging a serious attitude towards Covid SOPs, people on Twitter have been outspoken about and critical of people's attitudes towards the pandemic, pressing the need to follow SOPs.
Yeah, no more boots please.
The nation is genuinely pushed to the edge in terms of healthcare services, which are worryingly fragile, and any further strain may cause a collapse that we don't have a backup plan for.
There are solutions, but as academic Nida Kirmani noted, they will fall on deaf ears.
As the government shies away from imposing lockdowns, it is key that we ourselves recognise and understand the necessity of them. Using our own faculties, we must then decide to follow SOPs.
As we stand on the precipice of disaster, we must look at our neighbours and learn from their mistakes. In fact, we should be learning from our own. Don't wait for the government to tell you to follow SOPs, do it yourself, if not for yourself then for the others around you. Pakistan will not be able to handle another deadly wave, let alone what is happening in India.
So everyone please, wear your masks, stay home and stay safe.