The COVID-19 statistics are staggering: 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths. The world crossed these grim milestones a few days back, and they are a chilling reminder that the highly contagious coronavirus continues to stay with us. And the worst is yet to come, the World Health Organisation has warned.
Viruses are not an unfamiliar phenomenon. Many of them have been around for a while in the absence of viable vaccines and a complete cure. Humanity has learned to live with them. We cannot be held hostage by a virus.
SARS-CoV2 is no ordinary virus. It causes COVID-19, primarily a respiratory disease. What’s worrying are the complications, many of which we still don’t know. More because it’s a new disease.
Countries around the world have employed lockdowns and other measures to restrict the movement of people to prevent the spread of the disease. They did help. But at a tremendous cost to the economy. That’s something the world can ill-afford. Job loss and slow growth continue to strangle economies. So most nations are eager to restart businesses and resume normal activities.
More vigilance is required when visiting malls and other crowded places. The world around us has changed. We have to change our ways and habits.
In the UAE, Dubai has reopened most offices and public facilities. Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other emirates have partially opened malls and some facilities. Mosques and other places of worship are being reopened on Wednesday. It’s only a matter of time when all restrictions are removed.
This places a huge responsibility on people. The responsibility to protect ourselves and others from the virus. That means diligently following the guidelines on proper hygiene and social distancing to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
We have remained indoors for the best part of three months, so the enthusiasm to enjoy the outdoors is understandable. That enthusiasm has to be bridled with caution. The virus is still among us. For many in our midst, COVID-19 could be fatal. We should be fully aware of that, and that awareness should reflect in our actions too.
Family gatherings can wait. Birthdays will come next year too. Practise social distancing, use masks to keep the germs out, and wash your hands often or use sanitisers. It will help you and others stay healthy.
More vigilance is required when visiting malls and other crowded places. The world around us has changed. We have to change our ways and habits. A healthy dose of caution and common sense will help. Only then can we survive and thrive in the new world. A world with coronavirus.