Will the barricades help stop Covid? Experts say no.

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On the early morning of Tuesday, Javaid Bhat, 32, woke up to see a lane that connects his locality to the main road, in the Zadibal area of district Srinagar, blocked with the barricades. 

He came out to see what was happening and saw a group of people gathered around. 

Last night, the district administration had erected barricades at the entry and exit points of some areas to curb the movement of the general public and put a check on the spread of Covid-19 cases in Srinagar.

Although the scene was not the first of its kind. A few months back, when the Covid was at its peak, there were similar barricades at every containment zone in the city. 

“It was obviously difficult for people to move around. They were struggling to go out and reach their destinations,” said Bhat. 

For the past few weeks, there has been a surge in the number of Covid cases in the city. On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir reported 86 Covid positive cases, out of which 48 were reported from Srinagar. 

“You can’t curb the moment for a long time because sometimes there are emergencies, be it medical or any other. What will happen to them?” he further said.  

The district administration Srinagar has notified around 26 Micro-Containment Zones and sealed these areas as per the Covid protocols. 

An official, while talking to a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said that despite fines, there has been a complacent approach from some sections of the people who do not adhere to the Covid protocols. 

He added that the district administration Srinagar is going to act tough against the Covid violators and may face FIR.

According to the official figures, district Srinagar has so far reported 73,159 Covid positive cases, out of which 837 have died while the district’s current active case load is 604.

In one of the contaminated zones, Post Office Nowshera, a group of people were complaining of the difficulties faced by them. 

At the barricade, there were people who had to get their gas cylinders refilled. “We have to take the gas cylinders. It is so difficult to get it through the barricades,” said one of the local residents. 

Ghulam Hassan, a resident of Rangpora on the outskirts of Srinagar, said that the authorities came last night and told them that there was a Covid patient.

He said that all of us were against the curbing of the moment as there was no patient in their locality. 

“If someone dies here, no one will come to us fearing all of us have Covid,” said Hassan, adding that the barricades not only curb the moment but also stigmatise them in their own society. 

The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) President, Dr Nisar ul Hassan, said that as long as we have susceptible and vulnerable people, who are not vaccinated, the virus has a lot of holes to infect.

“There are people without masks busy in the busiest markets, in large gatherings. We can expect not only the third wave but many other waves to come,” he said.  

He further said that the barricades and the curbs by the administration won’t work for long. 

“Nowhere in the world can you educate and make people aware with sticks,” he added. “It is also their responsibility to understand that they are not only a threat to themselves but also to the whole community.”

About the third Covid wave, he said that the situation may not be as devastating as it was during the first and second wave. “It will be mild,” he said adding, the people who were already affected during the previous waves are highly unlikely to get affected. 

The Director General Health, Family Welfare and Immunization, Dr. Saleem ur Rehman had earlier said that they have administered almost 20 lakh doses of vaccine in the month of August and 16 lakh doses in the month of July. 

Dr. Hassan, the DAK President, said that the vaccination will be an annual affair now. “Covid is here to stay like any other flu,” he said.

However, most experts say that the barricading of the localities does little in stopping the spread of the virus. But it mainly has been affecting the general public in times of emergencies and also in increasing stigmatization of barricades areas.

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