With Eid just round the corner, main markets of Karachi are packed with rush of people thronging shopping malls, with massive traffic jams on the roads making social distancing ineffective. People are seen flouting standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the government to mitigate surge in Covid cases.
Karachi’s markets (Bohri bazaar, Zainab market, Jodia bazaar, Hyderi and Jama Cloth), shopping plazas ( Rabi Centre, Gulf Way, Gold Mark I and II) and malls (Dolmen, Omega, Milennium, Luckyone, Forum and Atrium) that are set on roads, congested and blind alleys despite spending millions on monthly security are failed in ensuring SOPs. Hundreds of people are seen queuing on counters. Despite being cognizant of the gravity of Covid-19, local markets allow people to throng malls without masks, jeopardizing staff and shoppers lives at risk for third wave of virus infections as millions come in contact during shopping. The markets cannot be solely blamed for this as major part of negligence and ignorance falls on people’s side who endanger them and their love ones by not wearing masks and keeping social distancing.
The total number of Covid cases in Pakistan has picked up steam as Pakistan has added about 829,933 confirmed cases. According to the NCOC, Pakistan on Saturday reported 113 more fatalities from Covid-19 as the third wave of Coronavirus continues to take lives despite government measures to contain the virus. If flouting of SOPs continues, rampaging infections will collapse Pakistan’s health system with shortages of medical oxygen and hospital beds.
The neighboring country India has reported 400,000 cases after 10 consecutive days tally over 300,000. Deaths from Covid-19 reached to 3,500 over the past 24 hours, taking the total toll in India to 211,853, according to official data. The world’s biggest producer of Covid-19 vaccines has finite number of shots remaining, worsening infections that has overwhelmed morgues and hospitals while families scramble for scarce oxygen and medicines.
According to the (NCOC): “Shopping malls, chand raat bazaars, public places, mehndi stalls, and recreational spots will remain closed from 8 to 16 May. The NCOC, in a statement further said: “The current surge of Covid-19 cases in the country demands effective measures to control its further spread with special emphasis on reducing mobility during Eid-ul-Fitr.”
On occasions like Eid everyone wants to dress in new clothes. Young children wear traditional outfits (shalwar kameez), little girls wear eastern garb with touch of churidaar. Men have a choice of wearing overworked fancy stuff or the subtly worked shalwar kameez. Women embellish their clothes with laces rather than buying ready made embroidered kurtis or going for embroidery that cost less but have the same effect whereas some prefer ready made Anarkali style shirts, teamed with less pricey khussas and simple churridaar.
Mehndi and bangles seem to be the luxury for women on chand raats, the demand for which has not gone down. Although the bangles accessible in the market are of a less extravagant nature, women are seen following the propensity of taking their Eid clothes to the bangle store and matching their bangles with the colours of Eid clothes.
This Eid we must keep to the spirit of simplicity. That is not to say we would not be giving ourselves a treat but we can spend more money helping others rather than going to markets, flouting SOPs and buying branded clothes for ourselves.
On this joyous occasion of Eid, let’s all adhere to the Covid-19 precautionary measures and the Government’s Public Emergency Regulations in order to prevent the spread of the virus.