Editorial comment – We need a united front

Ministry of Health Head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan addresses the media during a press conference at the Government Buildings in Suva. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

It’s difficult to get past the fact that COVID-19 continues to be the news maker these days.

As the world battles to bring back some semblance of order, the pandemic continues to rise around the globe.

While there is hope that the battle is slowly being won in some quarters, the huge number of deaths, and massive infection rate in other countries continues to be a concern.

This isn’t the time for complacency at all.

The battle isn’t going to be a walk in the park either. In its situation report yesterday, the World Health Organization announced that six new countries/territories/areas (African Region (2), European Region (1), Region of the Americas (1), South East Asia Region (1) and Western Pacific Region (1)) had reported cases of COVID-19.

The WHO regional directors of Europe, the Western Pacific and Africa called for global solidarity to fight COVID-19.

Ensuring international co-operation, investing in health, and engaging communities are keys to effectively tackle the pandemic.

It also updated technical guidance on critical preparedness, readiness and response; advice on the use of masks; infection prevention and control; and laboratory testing.

Back home, a lot of interest will no doubt be focused on how our first two cases are coping with treatment.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services, head of health protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan said on Saturday that both were in stable condition.

The second confirmed case was the 47-year-old mother of the flight attendant who was the first to be tested positive for COVID-19.

“From experiences of other countries… those most at risk of catching COVID-19 are household contacts because you are living in close proximity to other people. There is likely one person who will spread it to someone else in the household, so this is not unexpected,” she said.

“This is why the Ministry of Health and Medical Services moved very quickly to isolate the entire household at Nadi Hospital, as we knew we had a confirmed case, both of these cases now, the mother and son are in stable condition in Lautoka and Nadi hospitals.”

In a time of panic and uncertainty, such news will bring some relief to many people.

However, it is now more critical for us to pull out all stops in the fight to defeat this COVID-19.

Together as a nation, we can.

The onus is on the powers that be to keep us informed daily about what’s happening around us in this campaign.

Daily briefings are important to keep the people informed and does add to bring about reassurance. Our challenge is how we keep up with personal hygiene.

We should make an effort not to touch our face, which certainly is a massive challenge considering our instinctive reaction to do so throughout the day.

Let’s wash our hands frequently, keep social distancing, adhere to the call for us not to share a bilo or taki glass, let’s not shake hands, and stop hugging.

Let’s minimise unnecessary travel now that the school holidays have been brought forward, and stay home.

Let’s assist the Ministry of Health in its bid to narrow down on any infected case in our nation, and allow them to effectively deal with these cases.

We need a united front.

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