S: Amid surge in the coronavirus cases, people in Kashmir are not following COVID-19 guidelines.
Hundreds of people could be seen on the streets or on Boulevard along the banks of Dal Lake without wearing masks or maintaining social distance.
This is despite authorities having announced that wearing masks was mandatory in all public places.
However, rarely anyone could be seen wearing masks. “Looks hundreds of vendors are selling barbecues and fried fish on the banks of Dal Lake. Neither these sellers nor customers are wearing masks. I do wear a mask to protect myself but it won’t make any difference as less than 10 percent of people are wearing masks,” Imran Ahmad, a resident of Nishat told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
He said the government should take strict measures to ensure people wear masks. “If wearing a mask has been made mandatory they are why law enforcing agencies are not implementing these guidelines. Why don’t they fine those who are not following COVID guidelines,” he asked.
A spokesperson of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), in a statement on Monday, said that due to the onset of summer, there was a visible reduction in the wearing of masks in public places and also negligence in maintaining safe social distances.
“People had started thronging public parks and picnic spots which was a matter of grave concern and alarm. The situation gets worse on weekends and holidays,” the spokesperson said.
He said it was important to underline the importance of strictly following the COVID protocols as in many cases youth who themselves possess strong immune systems tend to infect other vulnerable sections of the society with weaker immune systems like the elderly or those with medical conditions.
The Chamber appealed to the members of the business community to renew the focus on strict adherence to regular sanitization and maintaining safe distances in their business establishments and markets.
“The Government had relaxed the guidelines to accommodate the genuine concerns of the business community but the responsibility of keeping the markets safe is to be equally shared by the respective business community as well,” he said.
KCC&I added that it needed to be noted that ignoring the threat of COVID could prove disastrous for the whole society.
“In addition, measures like keeping a safe distance of 2 metres, frequent washing of hands, proper wearing of N95 Masks, avoiding touching of eyes, nose and mouth, avoiding touching unsafe surfaces had proven to greatly reduce the chances of getting infected. Please take them seriously as mistakes can be dangerous and inflict heavy costs for the whole community,” it said.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole said it was mandatory to wear masks. “People should not come out of their homes without wearing masks. They should properly cover their mouth and nose. If people don’t wear masks, they will infect others. We are also raising awareness to ensure people wear masks,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir told KINS. (KINS)