Not too long ago, there was a time when a ‘new normal’ was predicted for us. We were envisioning a future of work that would be conducted from home. An RIP was being put on in-person meetings and greetings. If the present looked bleak, the future appeared bereft of hope. That is the nature of pandemics; they usher in a new way of life. Perhaps it then speaks volumes of our resilience as a nation that within 24 months of the pandemic, the ‘normal’ that we are now experiencing is close to the one we lived through vicariously prior to the pandemic. It even seems to have more possibilities.
Nobody saw it coming, but a potentially more transmissible variant is amid us. And now that Omicron is here and the number of cases has been steadily rising through the week, it is time for reflection. We have gone through the days of lockdown, and have seen life nearly coming to a halt. Which is why it becomes imperative to address what we the citizens and residents of the country can do to contain the spread of the virus.
This is not something we owe simply to ourselves but also to a generation that should reserve the right to see a pandemic-free future. At the height of the pandemic globally, the UAE showed the path and carved a present that had various possibilities —successful launch of the Mars mission, resumption of important events like the Air Show, clockwork precision with which the globally anticipated Expo 2020 Dubai was conducted— all are testament to the government’s concerted efforts in bringing normalcy back at a time when some countries are still trying to navigate their way through the pandemic.
As citizens and residents, we are now armed with greater knowledge about the invisible enemy. We have access to vaccines and boosters now that can help us tackle the virus should we contract it. But above all, it’s also time for us to go back to the basics of self-preservation. Social distancing, hand hygiene and masking still remain important factors that will determine our battle against Covid-19.
We cannot lower our guard at a time when the cases are rising. The recent surge in cases has been a reminder that the pandemic is far from over. And as we cheer the holiday season and mark the end of the year soon, we must remember that these practices cannot be negotiated with. It is our choices that will determine the human cost of Omicron.
The present should not undermine the future. A future where the pandemic is a thing of the past.
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