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Opinion and Editorial

KT Edit: We shall overcome the novel coronavirus

Filed on February 9, 2020 | Last updated on February 9, 2020 at 07.57 pm

The race to find a drug to strike down the coronavirus that has brought life to a halt in most parts of China and has spread across the world should be the priority for the World Health Organization, governments, and the medical fraternity. Countries are in this struggle together as the number of victims have exceeded those of the SARS coronavirus 17 years ago. Mercifully, SARS faded out and so did plans to develop a drug to fight that coronavirus. The chance to develop a vaccine also went a-begging. Waiting for this virus to simply slink away with the arrival of summer and warmer weather would not be a great idea. The death toll is rising steadily though the WHO has claimed the figures could be plateauing. This novel coronavirus is causing havoc on an already slowing world economy. People have been stranded, and separated from their loved ones. Visuals of a mother, a nurse in a hospital in China, asking her daughter to be strong while giving the girl an air-hug from a distance left many with moist eyes. The video went viral and the world weeps together for those we have lost.

The death of a doctor who alerted the authorities in Wuhan but was allegedly let down by the bureaucracy is also a cause for concern for those on the frontlines of this battle - brave doctors and nurses who put their lives at risk to fight the demon virus. It is indeed a people's war as Chinese President Xi Jinping said against an organism that few, except specialists in epidemiology and virology, have little knowledge about. Travel has been hit and China is in virtual lockdown. Quarantine measures may seem extreme to people distant from Wuhan and Hubei province, the ground zero, the epicentre of the outbreak, but these are necessary. China needs all the help it can get from the world community, and Beijing must allow experts under the WHO banner access to determine the origins of the virus - the main and intermediary host, if any, and how it spreads. This is a common fight - in ground zero, in global laboratories, in hospitals, in our homes and society against a mysterious and deadly viral intruder. The human spirit is fighting back with vigour on three fronts - by saving lives, in its efforts to seek and find the source of the strain, and by working to develop a drug and a vaccine against the scourge.

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