Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
With confirmed cases crossing 200,000 and more than 8,000 people already dead, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak seems to have launched a war against humanity.
The worst affected countries are mainland China, with 3,237 deaths, out of 80,894 cases, of whom 69,601 have been cured. Italy follows with 2,503 deaths, 31,506 cases, Iran 1,135 deaths, around 17,000 cases, Spain 558 deaths and 13,716 cases and France with 175 deaths and 7,730 cases. Turkey, Bangladesh, Moldova and Burkina Faso have all reported their first deaths.
The pandemic has resulted in countries imposing travel restrictions and shutting down major events, shops and schools. But this is not the time to panic.
History has proved that through sincere, firm and coordinated actions, the world community can surmount any challenge. The deadly virus can certainly be beaten back by solidarity within communities and within nations.
Robust, bold and effective containment and control measures initiated by most countries are already raising hopes that the tough times could be overcome.
Governments in Europe, Asia and North America have rolled out strong measures to put the brakes on the ferocious spread of the pandemic.
While the focus correctly remains on the medical front, the economic challenges posed by COVID-19 should also be kept in mind.
The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) caution that the pandemic could trigger a global economic crisis and destroy up to 25 million jobs around the world if governments do not act fast to shield workers from the impact deserves serious attention.
Urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures are needed to protect workers in the workplace, stimulate the economy and support jobs and incomes.
Markets have been incredibly volatile for weeks as Wall Street and the White House acknowledge an increasing risk of a recession due to the coronavirus outbreak. The typical day this month has seen the stock market swing up or down by 4.9%. Over the last decade, the typical move was just 0.4%.
The UAE, on its part, has been taking all the correct steps to tackle the situation. The temporary suspension on issuing visas upon arrival for holders of exempted passports, effective 01:00 (UAE local time) on Thursday, March 19, 2020, is another step in the right direction.
It should not be forgotten that the UAE leads global COVID-19 testing to prevent further spread. As of Tuesday, 127,000 individuals had been tested for coronavirus in the UAE, according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention.
Considering data on COVID-19 testing per capita, the UAE is now leading global efforts to ensure the mitigation of the pandemic. When analysing the number of swab tests conducted per capita, the UAE total has exceeded 13,020 tests per one million people.
Benevolent UAE has also been doing its best to help the global community.
Director-General of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ praise for the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for the continuous support to the COVID-19 global response is well-deserved.
“Thanks #UAE and @MohamedBinZayed for your continuing support to the #COVID19 response,” the WHO official tweeted, citing the news of the UAE sending aid flight to Iran to support the fight against the virus.
It is heartening that the UAE health authorities have heeded global calls to mobilise action plans, coordinating with various authorities within the country, and ensuring cross-governmental involvement to control the pandemic.