As the world crosses the grim milestone of 19 million cases of COVID-19 and as European nations brace for a second wave of infections, it’s time to take stock of the war against coronavirus — before we hit another million in a matter of days.
It’s true that the rapid rise in recent numbers is driven by surges in Latin America along with a new milestone in Africa as the continent hit one million cases. Global deaths from the pandemic have topped 700,000, and Europe remains the hardest-hit region worldwide with more than 200,000 fatalities.
But more worrying is the trend in India — which reached two million cases in 20 days, much faster than the US and Brazil, the two countries with the highest number of cases. And then there are pockets around the world where the virus has returned with a vengeance — such as New South Wales in Australia.
There are green shoots of recovery and optimism around the world, despite the rising number of cases. But everyone must grasp this opportunity, this sliver of hope, and do their best to bring down the infections even further — this is not a moment to celebrate or relax our collective vigilance
But every cloud has a silver lining — and even in humankind’s deepest despair lies the seeds of hope.
The African continent, for example, remains the least affected despite the surge, with only Oceania registering fewer Covid-19 cases. Governments from Hong Kong to Germany have announced free Covid-19 tests for anyone who wants one.
Carefully calibrated reopening strategy
While UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has declared that an unprecedented furlough scheme cannot continue indefinitely. Here in the UAE, infections have ebbed significantly as per the data trends of the past few weeks, and measures taken in the early periods of the outbreak in the country, along with a carefully calibrated reopening strategy, have succeeded in countering any resurgence.
There are thus green shoots of recovery and optimism around the world, despite the rising number of cases. But everyone must grasp this opportunity, this sliver of hope, and do their best to bring down the infections even further — this is not a moment to celebrate or relax our collective vigilance.
Whether it’s a crowd partying in Hollywood Hills or a mountain of protesters without masks or social distancing on the streets of Berlin and Budapest, those who have defied public health orders have not only fatally endangered themselves but also their loved ones and the entire society.
Even as the world races to find a workable cure for the infection, no vaccine can cure such irresponsible and brainless behaviour.
Winning the war against coronavirus might not exactly be around the corner but it is within our reach — and it’s time that everyone is held responsible for playing their part in this battle of our lifetime.