Great challenges for us all

Police officers manning the roadblock at Delainavesi Bridge this morning. Picture: SUPPLIED/FIJI POLICE

THERE are moments in time when we will look back and reflect on events that have left an indelible impression
on our minds.

It’s difficult to shrug aside what COVID-19 will mean to people in the future.

Lives have changed, some overnight. On a global scale, millions have been forced to adapt to a life that is different from what they are used to.

The very nature of who we are as humans is been tested. As Fijians, it is difficult to overlook how life has evolved over the past few weeks, and the realisation that it will continue to do so.

We have been forced to do away with the hand shake for instance, and the hugs. They have long been an integral part
of how we greet one another.

We are supposed to be sociable people. We love company. It’s being the way many of us have lived our lives for decades.

It’s nurtured how we respond to people and how we are so embracing of others.

COVID-19 has forced us to be conscious of safety. That means social distancing, and doing away with the handshakes, and the hugs. It means extending that to stopping the sharing of the bilo, or taki glass.

Perhaps it was meant to be. The end bit of that line, that is, the one about sharing a bilo or taki glass.

When we reflect on life itself, generally we may not appreciate how much this virus has changed it over the past few months, and in the case of Fiji, since the early hours of Thursday, March 19 this year.

We may rue the many misfortunes we have encountered, how they rudely interrupted how we used to do things, and
how the settings have actually changed.

Our challenge though now, will have to be focused on how we embrace change.

For in the change that we must make, sits the ability for us to get out of this COVID-19 pandemic with heads still held high.

Leave aside old habits we must for the sake of our nation. A lockdown isn’t pleasant for anyone. But it is important
now to isolate the virus, and those infected. The rude awakening we’ve probably always dreaded is here. Italy and the US are staring at a blankwall that appears endless.

Deaths from COVID-19 are an inevitable part of the lives of Italians and Americans now, and they are happening dai-
ly, in their hundreds.

The harsh reality on the ground is rather frightening. In saying that though, there have also been positive news
as well, of people recovering from COVID-19.

The greatest challenge perhaps, from a layman’s perspective, would have to be how soon a vaccine is tested and ap-
proved for use.

Other than that, our challenge remains, to keep COVID-19 at bay.

The State has the massive undertaking of keeping Fijians afe, and trying not to place stress on the health processes
and systems. To mitigate any shortfalls will mean a focused effort on keeping track of how the virus is trending in Fiji.

It will mean everyone engaged in this fight will have to be focused 100 per cent. This is why we acknowledge the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s call for people to stay at home.

He commended Fijian health and essential services workers on the frontline in the war against COVID-19.

Acknowledgement, we say, is due to our frontline workers in these unusual and trying times. Their challenges are

great.

Let’s play our part. That is important in the big picture.

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