It is appreciable reviewing steps taken to fight coronavirus to have an idea of roadblocks and problems in implementation and new thinking that can help in the way forward. A lobal lockdown tightens as coronavirus deaths mount. New waves of outbreak in the US have pushed the nation’s containment efforts to brink. Despite slivers of hope in the death-stricken Italy and Spain, tough measures have confined some two-fifths of the globe’s population to their homes. In a crisis situation, it is important to keep in view behaviours and attitudes of the people. Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on health, has condemned social stigma and ostracisation of people who have tested positive for the virus. He said, “Society must socially accept these patients”.Prime Minister himself has expressed disappointment over the behaviour of criminalising people being tested positive for COVID-19. He said, “Their behaviour will lead to addition in the cases instead of reduction in them. People will become afraid and avoid presenting themselves for the test, which will cause damage to the preventive measures.” Dr Mirza said, “All departments concerned and people have to adopt positive behaviour for people being tested for COVID-19.”Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar urged maintaining a balance between controlling the spread of COVID-19 and keeping the economy running, warning that no law and police can stop people from coming out on streets if they don’t get the basic necessities. “Nobody is arguing and there is no country in the world saying that they should not impose restriction or a lockdown, but if there are too many restrictions and people are unable to get their basic necessities then no matter how many laws you apply or how much police you deploy you cannot stop people from coming out.” He said this during a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, and Zafar Mirza. Umar said that the sixth meeting of the National Coordination Committee will be held with Prime Minister Imran Khan in chair to finalise a uniform strategy regarding lockdown and restrictions. Regarding a lockdown, Umar said that the decision makers, not only in Pakistan but around the world, will have to consider how to maintain a balance between preventing the spread of coronavirus and keeping the economy running. On one hand, you have to stop the spread of the disease to save your citizens from deaths, and on the other hand you have to be careful to not to create a situation where the economic burden is too high, which leads to the spread of hunger and poverty in the entire society. If you don’t keep the balance and say we won’t have a lockdown at all, the disease will spread very fast and people will start losing jobs because they will be too sick. On the other hand, if you enforce a strict lockdown, people won’t get food and then there is no way they will not come out on the streets. This way the decision of lockdown will be counterproductive and the efforts to control the spread of disease will fail.Regarding people we need to understand the meaning of perception. There are many aspects of this crisis but the three most important are: 1) understanding behaviour of people; 2) the process of leading; and 3) how to communicate effectively. Social perception refers to our understanding of the social environment. The perception process is inherently flawed and subject to many cultural values that strongly influence how individual perceive and interpret the social environment. The effect of culture on perception can result in misperception and misunderstanding. The same behaviour may have different meanings in different cultures. Without an understanding of the cultural differences, it is difficult to understand the meaning of others’ behaviour. A social process takes place in three stages of attention, organisation and interpretation. At the attention stage, it will let in some but not all information by using a perceptual filter and selective attention. At the organisation stage, our schemas of events and people guide how we organise and remember information. Schemas are mental models that are resistant to change and strongly influenced by culture. The attribution process comes into play in the interpretation stage. Through attribution, we assign the cause of behaviour to the person (internal) for the situation (external). We also consider distinctiveness and consistency of behaviour when making attributions. There are factors that bias our impression of people-positive or negative.Stereotypes based on group membership are other biases. Primacy and recency are two other perceptual processes; these are the tendencies to put too much weight on either early or late information. The fundamental attribution error leads us to understand and estimate the strength of the situation and overuse. Internal attributions about others make us fall prey to self-serving biases by accepting credit for success but rejecting blame for failures. With biases, we make more efficient information processes but less effective if they lead to errors in judgement.The aim is to save human lives, strengthen the economy and keep a balance. We cannot afford to live with this coronavirus crisis for longOvercoming biases is difficult because we seek consistency to gain the illusion of control. Phenomenal absolutism is believing that what you perceive is objective reality rather than your interpretation of reality. It makes it even harder to recognise the effect of biases in social perception. Channelling and self-fulfilling prophecy are two other processes that encourage biases. In channelling, we limit our interaction with someone so that we never have the opportunity to receive information that made us confirm our judgement. Through channelling, our behaviour causes people to behave the way we expect, thereby forming a self-fulfilling prophecy. By learning to recognise their biases through training, including cross cultural training, awareness, constant reminders, and frequent contact and interaction, managers can reduce the negative effect of biases. The goal of performance evaluation is to evaluate and develop your employees or team members. Both goals are strongly influenced by how we perceive others and ourselves.A leader is a person who influences individuals and groups within an organisation, help them in the establishment of goals, and guide them toward achievement of those goals, thereby allowing them to be effective. The two general requirements of leadership are competence and conformity. Three general approaches to leadership are the trait, behaviour and contingency approaches. What is considered good leadership is strongly determined by cultural factors. Power distance and relationship with others are two of the central cultural values that influence leadership. The achievement dimension of culture also strongly influences what is expected of the leader and how his performance is viewed.Charismatic leadership involves a relationship and a strong emotional bond between leaders and followers. Charismatic leaders display self-confidence, excellent communication skills, and active impression management, and their followers display devotion, obedience, and high expectations for success. Charismatic leadership most often develops in situations of real or perceived crisis. Transformational leadership is focused on large scale change in organisations; transactional leadership focuses on day-to-day goal setting and exchanges. Visionary leaders set clear and inspiring visions for their followers. Exemplary leadership requires the leader to question old exemptions and practices to develop a new vision.Communication, a continuous process, is the exchange of information and meaning between people. It occurs when one person understands and responds to a message sent by another. communication is considered effective when the sender’s message is for the intended person with minimal distortion. We communicate a considerable amount of information through nonverbal communication without the use of words. We use facial expressions and eye contact, body posture and gesture, vocal cues and other signals that accompany verbal messages, and space and distance between people. National culture has a great impact on how people use and interpret nonverbal communication.Tools of effective communication include active listening, effective feedback, and supportive indication. The active listener is intently focused on the sender and the message. Feedback is information about some behaviour and its effect. Supportive communication is honest and accurate interpersonal communication that is focused on building and enhancing relationships.We don’t know how long we have to confront the present crisis involving threats to the entire world population, including Pakistan and other countries in this region. We don’t exactly know what we should and should not do. Politicians and bureaucrats who have firmly understood what the problem is will certainly come to a solution. The aim is to save human lives, strengthen the economy and keep a balance. We cannot afford to live with this coronavirus crisis for long. Something has to be done to get out of this situation. There is a host of problems and issues that the country is confronted with.National unity is essential in the current difficult times; the need is for cooperation and conciliation for the sake of the people and Pakistan’s future. Most important is the responsibility of citizens to stay home and observe the directives of the government to prevent the spread of this epidemic. There is need for more awareness of the consequences of coronavirus affecting all sections of society.The writer is former Director National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) Government of Pakistan, a political analyst, a public policy expert, and a published author.