The risks of lowering the guard

By Sajeev K Peter

It seems complacency has taken over most of us in Kuwait these days. Have we overcome the fear of coronavirus? Has the caution we exercised in the initial months of the outbreak of the pandemic given way to a ‘come what may’ attitude? Are we dropping the guard? One may begin to think on these lines if you look around public places in Kuwait where people frequent these days; streets, malls and restaurants.

You may see people moving around without facemasks and some of those who wear masks would invariably hang them around their neck and chin as if it were a kind of ritual. Wearing a face mask in public spaces has been mandatory in Kuwait ever since the government reported the first cases of coronavirus in February this year.

Avoiding virus infection while using a public transport system in Kuwait has become a challenge these days. While travelling, many people appear to have grown careless and have begun to ignore the mandatory warning of wearing a facemask. Even hand sanitizer bottles have vanished from many public transport buses now. Oblivious of passengers who sit in front and back seats, some commuters would sneeze and cough, releasing potentially infectious respiratory droplets into the air.

People have begun to show signs of reluctance to maintain social distancing with families gradually returning to some of the activities they stopped when the pandemic broke out. It is not advisable to become complacent while living with the threat of COVID-19, especially when the entire world is grappling with a second wave of coronavirus. In Kuwait, we thought that the COVID-19 had peaked and the curve had begun to flatten. But the recent spurt in cases suggests that while we may be approaching the peak, we have not reached there yet.

Non-compliance of health regulations has reached a tipping point prompting the government to consider an amendment to the law to impose instant fines for people not wearing facemasks and not abiding by health guidelines. It is true that we need to live with the virus and adapt to the new normal even as we await the vaccine. But, with the virus still spreading and remaining potentially dangerous, it is essential for us to continue physical distancing along with other safety measures. Because the risks of lowering the guard at this juncture may be very high and fatal.