COVID-19: We cannot drop our guard

Five months ago Chinese authorities took extensive lockdown measures to try and contain coronavirus, putting public health officials and government officials on alert on the potential widespread dangers of this virus. And now, as the days of July draw to a close, the most concerted efforts of all working together have managed to limit the worst effects of this global pandemic. But if there is one thing we all have learnt, it is that coronavirus is a pernicious and persistent invisible enemy that still maintains the capability of resurging once more.

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Here in the UAE, where a range of effective public health policy, stringent measures have blunted the worst effects of the coronavirus, we still need to maintain our vigilance to ensure it has no opportunity to again take root and threaten our health and safety.

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Scientists and researchers — the best minds in the medical field — are concentrating their efforts and learning as much as possible about this virus, how it targets our bodies, where it is vulnerable. And progress is being made on developing an effective vaccine that will turn the tide once and for all in our favour. Public health measures work too, but there are lessons to be learnt.

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In India, close to 50,000 cases daily are being registered regularly, and greater efforts are needed collectively to ensure that the virus will not overwhelm a health system that is creaking under the sheer strain of so many ill. In the US, where states went their own way in combating coronavirus, cases there are still rising, with 142,000 dead there in the world’s worst-affected nation. Across Central and South America, cases too are simply too many.

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The effect of this pandemic has been to place large sections of the global economy in hibernation, and the challenge now is to put people back to work, safely, to ensure that this pandemic does not inflict too much damage on our economic, trading, commercial and financial systems.

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But we are winning. The lesson is that we need too to be on guard against second surges. Already, in parts of Europe that have reopened and where air corridors have been put in place to assist travel and tourism, these measures need constant vigilance and monitoring — and are being rolled back at short notice where necessary as a result of local outbreaks. We are emerging from this — slowly, surely — and much better informed.

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The Morning and Evening Brief

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