By Fazal Khaliq

MINGORA:  As the novel Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is on the rise with different myths and views spreading for preventive measures against the disease, people in Swat developed psychological problems in confusing situation.

People who are more affected by the situation are daily wage earners and poor community as they have less resources to protect themselves and high tension of arranging food and other necessities for their families.

“I cannot sleep in the night since the lockdown has been imposed in Mingora due to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and I am sitting at home without having a single penny to buy daily use items. The situation is getting worse for my family,” said Ibrar Hussain a day labourer in Mingora. He said that he prayed the situation did not go longer.

Residents of Mingora and suburbs said that the empty streets and the closed markets in the recent lockdown reminded them the days of curfews during the Swat mayhem.

“During the militancy period we witnessed deserted towns and villages after curfew was imposed. It is now the same situation as Mingora is like a ghost town. It scared me to see the town deserted which in usual days is full of life,” Ahmad Ali, a resident of Rang Mohallah said, adding that he had developed a sort of anxiety in the situation.

Those who are suspected of carrying coronavirus symptoms are in high depression and tension as they said people in surroundings seemed to abhor them. “It seems that we are not human beings as people ran away from us. Though I have not tested positive but by developing mere symptoms people started hating me. It is like a stigma,” said a young man who did not want to show his name and was staying in the Quarantine center in Saidu Teaching Hosptial waiting for his test result.

According to psychologists the present situation caused by pandemic COVID-19, many people are getting affected by stress, anxiety and numerous such problems.

“It is natural to be affected by stress under such circumstances. Stress can have its many manifestations varying from person to person. The most common influence of stress is on our physical system that leads to development of psychosomatic complaints and diseases in the long run,” said Uzma Ilyas a lecturer of psychology who is also a clinical psychologist who is also helping people through her online face book page and telephone calls.

She said that, presently, people were confronting high ratio of cold and flu. “One major effect of stress is onset of common cold. When we start taking stress our bodies become susceptible towards such conditions.  It gradually starts to decline our immune system and affects other related body functions as well,” she said, adding, “Our energy resources also began to deteriorate and target our body and brain mechanisms which leads to behavioural changes that are negative and changing our normal routines in negative ways.”

She said that she came across many cases hearing from different sources that majority of people were facing high stress due to the Covid-19 onset. “Stress is justified to take place but we have to stay strong and use our maximum potentials and strengths to combat this challenge,” she advised and said stress would increase the chances of susceptibility towards the virus instead of being prevented.

She offered her services and would address such problems in her online mental health support service on social media. She requested people to kindly to avoid stigmatising people that were neither infected nor had suspected symptoms but had common cold and flu along with other seasonal allergies.

“It’s the time to take steps towards positive initiatives because the more people direct their minds in positive and healthy ways it is helpful on individual as well as community level,” she advised.