The past few days have seen a flurry of activity surrounding the coronavirus. The number of those infected rapidly continues to increase, and has now reached a total of 212 confirmed cases until the time this was written. The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has officially been postponed until further notice, and the government has also become creative in its fight against the pandemic, by launching a chatbot that answers queries regarding the coronavirus.

Crucially however, in what is a big positive for Pakistan, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that money spent on fighting the infection will not be included in the fiscal deficit. This presents a unique opportunity for us, as the state can throw whatever financial resources we have at the problem. Setting up makeshift hospitals, ordering anti-viral drugs (which have limited efficacy) and importing more testing kits needs to be prioritised before all else, to prevent the worst of the damage wrought by the virus.

But all of this only relates to the effort needed by the government, which in fairness has stepped up in the face of this looming crisis. The public needs to do its part, but sadly, we have been failing miserably on that end. From an individual arrested for selling fake vaccines in Karachi, to the general panic witnessed within society, we are not helping ourselves or others around us by letting fear guide our actions in this sensitive time.

This is not the time to hoard on crucial supplies and deny others the chance to survive. By stocking up on sanitisers and other related products, individuals do not realise that they are inadvertently helping the spread of the virus, because the only way we stay protected is if the maximum number of people follow the guidelines of the government. Admittedly, this is a difficult time, but this will pass in the next two to three weeks. We need to be calm in this time, look out for each other and not look to be overly selfish. That is the only way we will pull through this.