Coronavirus vs. Social Distancing: A changing paradigm of social interaction
Coronavirus vs. Social Distancing: A changing paradigm of social interaction

The large scale global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has brought about drastic changes in pattern of cultural and social interactions almost in every society as from greetings to meetings a deliberate attempt of ‘social distancing’ is made to halt the spread of virus.

The virus is primarily transmitted through direct contact with infectious person or with droplets of the infected person’s cough or sneeze, or touching the surface that has cough or sneeze droplets. And later on touching mouth or face with the infected hand as the COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces for several hours.

Therefore, in order to curb the menace of deadly virus, the sudden social change is witnessed in the mode of interaction. The change is somehow a cultural sock in Pakistani society. People are slowly getting adapted with the changing scenario of new social norms of greetings. However, it wouldn’t be possible to break the chain of virus without embracing the fast changing paradigm of social interactions.

As a responsible member of the world community, Pakistan has taken bold and timely steps to impose restrictions on gatherings, social and political activities by locking down the routine works, educational institutions and public transport operations. Thus people have been restricted to their homes to follow precautionary measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread.

The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has been named as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. The COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its cross-border spread.

The public is time and again sensitized to ensure at least six feet distance while interacting with each other. They are also asked to avoid handshake and hugging during meeting with one another. Only the responsible move of individual members in line with the government instructions can ensure safety of the collective wellbeing of the society.

The virus which emerged in Wuhan city has later gripped other parts of the country. The Chinese government has locked down the entire city and established various quarantines to accommodate around 12 million people. After getting the situation from bad to worse, the movement of around 60 million people turned stagnant while the city has shown a deserted look.

According to Pakistan’s real-time updates data portal for COVID-19 till filing of the feature, the virus has so for infected 6, 49,024 people and caused deaths to 30,277 people worldwide. Likewise, in Pakistan, so for a total of 1, 495 cases and 12 deaths of coronavirus have been reported: Punjab 557, Sindh 469, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 188, Baluchistan 133, Gilgit-Baltistan 107, Islamabad 39 and AJK 02. The portal has also reported the recovery of 25 coronavirus patients in the country.

Talking to APP, General Surgeon, Nowshera Medical Complex, Dr. Fazal Ghani said, “Extraordinary situations always ask for extraordinary measures, especially when it comes to public health safety.” While urging people to frequently wash hands with soap and avoid contacting with sick people and animals, he said, in the existing social structure and combined family system; one has to be more careful about the precautionary measures.

Dr. Fazal Ghani said that people should avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands while knowledge, attitude and practice can safeguard the masses from infection of coronavirus. “Only strict precautions can help us protect from the spread of virus”, he added.

Sherafsar Khattak, a social worker who formed groups of volunteers in Sawal Dher, Mardan to sensitize public on protective measures against coronavirus said, “It is now a national obligation for each and every Pakistani to strictly adhere the government instructions against the virus.” He said that due to the prevailing situation of coronavirus cases in the country, people have been sensitized enough on social distancing.

Muhammad Uzair Khan, a college lecturer, said that in the wake of coronavirus, the indoor restricted people have got an opportunity to stay with parents, kids and relatives. He said that social distancing has not been maintained as such due to high level of socialization and social norms of the society.

Islamabad based philanthropist Saud Shah Roghani who distributed thousands of masks among the people has said that after the COVID-19 has become a global issue, the prevailing social custom of greetings had undergone a drastic change. He, however, urged the government to keep on sensitizing the masses on social distancing for breaking the chain of virus.

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