Coronavirus has continued to remain a challenge for impacted countries, as concerns are increasingly mounting. Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, was first detected in China in December 2019 but has since spread to a handful of other countries. Italy has now reported that two elderly people have died from confirmed COVID-19 and it is estimated that over 100 people in Italy have contracted the illness as of Sunday. Iran has also had its eighth confirmed COVID-19 death and South Korea reported that 5 people have now died and there was a significant spike in people contracting the illness on Sunday alone. South Korea has raised the alert to level 4, which gives the government power to restrict who can come and go from the country, restrict public transport, and lockdown at-risk cities. Iran has also announced it will be closing schools and cultural centers across 14 provinces to try and prevent any further spreading. Italy has also taken a similar approach, locking down certain areas and urging people to be vigilant.
Al Jazeera reported that President Moon Jae-in of South Korea issued a statement saying, “This will be a momentous time when the central government, local governments, health officials and medical personnel and the entire people must wage an all-out, concerted response to the problem.” This statement highlights the approach impacted governments are taking to combat COVID-19. Trying to prevent spreading as much as possible is key to avoiding letting the illness become too much of a threat. Dr. John Wiesman, the secretary of health in Washington State said in correlation to keeping the illness contained “There is no way, with something this large, that you can make it seal-proof, we have to try for 80 to 85 percent, and hopefully that will work.’’
In light of COVID-19, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts demand for air travel will fall for the first time in more than a decade, as fewer people are willing to travel, and restrictions are being put in place. As well as this, reports of misinformation spreading at an alarming rate are happening in Russia, with a conspiracy theory that the United States is behind the COVID-19 outbreak. The World Health Organisation is especially concerned by this because it is such a high volume (now being referred to as an infodemic) and it is distracting from the work being done by international health organizations to legitimately combat this disease. I think these outcomes of this disease show just how much fear and distrust people are feeling in light of this illness spreading.
What it is important to remember, is that most governments, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations are prepared for disease outbreaks such as this, and everything possible will be done to prevent devastation from COVID-19. We cannot let fear cloud our judgments going into situations such as these, nor can we let prejudices take over our attitudes towards countries such as China during these times. Taking general hygiene precautions and staying involuntary home isolation for 14 days if you have been to or been in contact with someone who has been to an affected country is recommended if you are concerned.
More information on statistics and also on staying protected from coronavirus can be found on the World Health Organisation website, as accurate information about the spreading and origin of COVID-19.
Overall, I think that remaining calm and making sure we consume accurate, scientific facts about this illness are extremely important. W.H.O and governments are going to continue releasing advice and taking action as it is needed. Panic and misinformation are only going to cause further harm and unrest.
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