This image has been used for illustrative purpose.
Solidarity is the key word at this time of war launched by the COVID-19 coronavirus against humanity. Not a day passes by without one hearing about new cases of COVID-19 infection in one country or the other. Prevailing uncertainty about when and how normalcy could return compounds global worry.
But one should never forget that the present challenge could be surmounted through united, sustained and effective measures.
The outbreak has infected more than 200,000 people and killed nearly 9,000, scorching through populations across the globe after emerging in China late last year.
While Europe has become the centre of the battle against the virus, closing borders and sequestering millions of people in their homes, the challenge faced by developing nations with fragile healthcare systems should not be ignored.
Warning by UN experts that some three billion people lack even the most basic weapons to protect themselves: soap and running water — is a matter of huge concern.
Three billion is a huge number and constitutes almost half of the world population.
Some 1.8 billion people globally also live in homelessness and grossly inadequate housing, often in overcrowded conditions, lacking access to water and sanitation – making them particularly vulnerable.
Countries across Africa and Asia are taking the right measures by heavily restricting travel, imposing quarantines and shutting schools, but it is hugely disheartening that one of the most fundamental practices individuals can adopt to shield themselves from COVID-19 — thorough hand washing — remains inaccessible for many millions.
As per Sam Godfrey, Unicef chief of water and sanitation in east and southern Africa, communities lack easily accessible running water and are unable to buy soap or do not realise its vital role in preventing illness.
With the first infections in the region often coming from those who have travelled internationally, Godfrey has aptly described the outbreak as “almost like a rich man’s disease for Africa, which, of course, will end up with the poor man suffering the most”.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 63 per cent of people in urban areas — 258 million people — lack access to hand washing, according to the Unicef figures. In central and south Asia this figure is 22 per cent, or 153 million people.
Benevolence is the need of the hour and the UAE has been setting a glorious example on this front.
While showing superb efficiency in adopting preventive measures to limit the spread of coronavirus at the domestic level, the UAE also helped evacuate Arab students stranded in Wuhan, China, and sent an aid flight to Iran to support the fight against the virus.
The UAE has also facilitated the evacuation of 80 individuals from Iran, among them 74 South Korean nationals residing there, in addition to 6 Iranian family members, in response to a request by the South Korean Government.
Such compassionate actions prompted Director-General of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to tweet: “Thanks #UAE and @MohamedBinZayed for your continuing support to the #COVID19 response.”
People have a major role to play and the community should follow and commit to the instructions and procedures of relevant authorities that aim to counter the virus.
As pointed out by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “To suppress and control epidemics, countries must isolate, test, treat and trace. Otherwise transmission chains can continue at a low level, then resurge once physical distancing measures are lifted.”
The health authority announced in a statement that it is providing this service through its 'Doctor for Every Citizen' initiative, which was launched by the authority last December to fulfil the goals of Article 5 of the Fifty-Year Charter.
The Centre has postponed the 48th edition of the Watch & Jewellery Middle East Show (WJMES), which was scheduled to take place from 25 – 29 March to be merged with the 49th edition in late September 2020.
In the wake of ongoing efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, the managements of malls across the country are taking a number of measures to provide maximum relief to the shoppers and residents. The efforts to provide relief to the customers and retailers range from relief in paying rent to reducing timings of mall operations.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) announced on Sunday that 12 more cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in the UAE. The persons who were reported positive for coronavirus were found to be in contact with others coming from abroad, who were also confirmed infected. The total number of people infected with Covid-19 has reached 98 in the country.
I suppose, in the end, people like me do have to make a choice, to take an actual position. Back in the easy calm of, say, 2019, a fairly normal week for me might have involved having a go at, say,
Despite warfare in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, huge disparities in national and personal incomes, and economic dislocation in the Eastern Arab World, the Arabs seem to be handling the coronavirus better than the global hyperpower, the US.
With global cases of the new coronavirus having crossed 1 million and more than 65,000 people dead, the pandemic continues to pose a huge threat to humanity.