Global solidarity needed to tackle virus - GulfToday

Global solidarity needed to tackle virus


No area seems to be in a position to fend off the spreading illness.

With the death toll from the new coronavirus surpassing 3,000 and the virus infecting more than 89,000 people spread across as many as 60 countries, the havoc unleashed by the epidemic seems endless.

The only way forward is for the global community to coordinate more effectively and take swift measures to detect cases early, isolate and offer medical care to patients and trace contacts.

While it is comforting that the number of new virus cases in China has dropped to its lowest level in six weeks, swelling infection numbers in other countries highlight the grim challenge facing the world.

No area seems to be in a position to fend off the spreading illness.

Major cities including Jakarta, New York and Berlin are grappling with their first recorded cases. Schools have emptied across Japan, mobile hospitals are being planned in Iran, and the Mona Lisa, accustomed to droves of staring tourists, hung in a vacant room of the shuttered Louvre museum in Paris.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has already warned that the world economy risked contracting this quarter for the first time since the international financial crisis more than a decade ago.

The head of the World Trade Organization has also stated that he expects the coronavirus epidemic to have a substantial impact on the global economy.

As per Roberto Azevedo, the effects on the global economy are likely to be substantial and will start to show up in the trade data in the weeks to come.

With fears of a pandemic on the rise, countries would do well to heed the World Health Organization’s appeal for all to stock up on critical care ventilators to treat patients with severe symptoms.

The WHO says the virus appears to particularly hit those over the age of 60 and people already weakened by other illness. It has a mortality rate of between two and five per cent.

The United Nations has moved in the right direction by releasing $15 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Fund to help fund global efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19, particularly vulnerable countries with weak health care systems.

WHO and UN Children’s Fund will be able to use the funds to undertake essential activities such as monitoring the spread of the virus, investigating cases, and operating national laboratories.

The potential spread of the virus to countries with weaker health systems is definitely a huge concern.

The UAE has once again displayed its benevolent spirit by facilitating a mission by the World Health Organisation to deliver medical supplies and equipment to Iran in a bid to help contain COVID-19 in the neighbouring country.

The UAE Air Force deployed an aircraft that carried 7.5 tonnes of cargo from Dubai to Iran on Monday afternoon. Dubai’s International Humanitarian City facilitated the packing and loading of the shipment containing hundreds of thousands of gloves, surgical masks, and other basic medical supplies, that could assist some 15,000 healthcare workers taking care of coronavirus patients in Iran.

As pointed out by Sultan Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister for International Development Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, “The UAE’s geographical location gives us easy access to more than 100 countries that cover two thirds of the global population. We use this privilege to support people who are affected by any crises. This mission is part of our efforts to support coronavirus patients.”

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