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Street Children & the Threat of COVID-19

These days, the World is facing a threatening pandemic named COVID-19. The person infected with this virus is to be kept in isolation as this is a rapidly spreading virus. Starting from just mild illness, this hazardous ailment has already taken so many lives. The World is in a state of deadly panic and disruption, so in our country. Confirmed COVID-19 cases are 824,559 across the world with 40,673 deaths. The U.S has 174,980 confirmed cases having 3,412 total deaths. The death toll in Italy passed 12,428 with 105,792 infections. Spain’s death toll rose to 8,269 surpassing China in its global death toll of almost 3,305 people. The death cases in Pakistan have yet not taken the worst face as 26 deaths have been reported with 1,914 confirmed infections and 53 recoveries

Government and health care officials of Pakistan are restless in taking measures against the outbreak of this virus and ordered to face this crucial time together by acquiring every possible effort after having this virus enter the country on 26th of February. Some of the regions where the outbreak is more serious are facing lock down such as Sindh that has the highest proportion of people affected than any other province. Recent data tells us that 535 cases have been reported in Sindh, among which 200 are from Karachi. This time is equally crucial for the underprivileged and marginalized communities, especially the children living in street situations who are surviving critically in the streets on their own. They could be more vulnerable victims to COVID-19 as they surely can’t afford any precautionary measure. The children on the street situations are to fight not only from corona but from hunger and crucial economic circumstances too.

“The best defense against any outbreak is a strong health system”, stressed the Director-General of WHO. In such situations, there are elements like hygiene, clean water, sanitation and proper nutrition that should strictly be taken care of, in order to be protected against the virus. It is a self-developing disease which enhances rapidly and affects anyone in close contact. It is important here to consider a street infected child as a serious threat against anyone with whom s/he comes in contact with. These street children roam openly from place to place, involved in their usual routines of rag picking, begging, earning and street vending and other such activities which have not been suspended yet. These violations of precautionary measures can appear in the form of a serious threat for themselves as well as to society. The majority of street children are unaware of the importance of isolation and social distancing. A study shows that young children in their teens are comparatively less affected by the virus itself, but can be a reason to spread it further. In order to avoid this danger of further explosions of the virus in the provinces, lock down seems a suitable decision but in addition to it, we should start awareness campaigns too. For this we will have to design a team of volunteers and experts who will aware the street population, children and adults, teach them about the precautionary measures against the virus, the importance of hygiene, sanitation, healthy immune system and better healthy lifestyles. While on the other hand their grocery and sanitary needs must be fulfilled, as these are the things that worry our Prime Minister the most. PM Imran Khan has been urging and requesting people to take care of any hungry family around them. For this reason he is not in the favor of complete lockdown

pandemic successfully came out of it and gave the world an example of the importance of unity and collaboration. Still, we should consider the self-isolation and the importance of social distancing at its utmost. Without humanity and sympathy for other people around us and patriotism for our country we cannot get over the disease. In all the major cities of Pakistan, the Army has been made responsible to ensure complete lock down, while there are Organizations and governmental institutions that are working to provide wages to the poor majority of street children. It’s time that the entire state regardless of any class, race and classification stands and fights this deadly virus together no matter how much we succeed, what would matter is that at least we began, because together we can.

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