We don't have to roll our eyes on every new case

Don't want to get infected? Let's make sure we follow the right protocol in terms of personal hygiene and sanitisation.

By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)

Published: Tue 10 Mar 2020, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Mar 2020, 4:34 PM

It's becoming boringly predictable now. Every time the UAE announces a few more cases of the Covid-19, there's that collective roll of the eyes followed by incessant chatter on Twitter about it. That doesn't help the containment - neither of the virus nor of the fear. The infection had spread to 115 countries (as at 4.30pm yesterday), with almost 116,000 cases. It's spreading across the world, yes. You know why? Because it is infectious. By definition, an interconnected world implies that people are at risk of getting infected.
Don't want to get infected? Let's make sure we follow the right protocol in terms of personal hygiene and sanitisation. Yes, it does boil down to just that. Hygiene. And maintaining stellar standards of hygiene is what you and I can do to prevent the spread any further. There's also this mystery surrounding why hasn't the Covid-19 been categorised as pandemic (yet) by the World Health Organization (WHO). The agency's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus came tantalisingly close to calling it that in a media briefing earlier this week, but left it at "the threat of a pandemic has become very real".
The nomenclature notwithstanding, there are countries where containment is still possible while in a handful of others, there is a need to switch efforts to mitigation mode. There are countries with zero cases while a vast number of countries, including the UAE, have reported sporadic cases. Containment is and should remain the primary objective in these countries. Then there are those that have reported clusters of infections and where the number runs from a few hundred to under-2,000. Both containment and mitigation efforts are running in parallel in these countries.
Finally, there are the four countries that have reported more than 91 per cent of the cases - China (of course), Italy, Iran, and South Korea. Efforts in these countries range from travel restrictions to full-blown lockdowns. Sure, we must remain concerned, maintain strict personal hygiene, take precautions, and explore all options (including working from home and travelling only if necessary). But let's keep things in perspective and not turn this epidemic into a panic-demic.

More news from