Some countries should take virus seriously

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/13 21:43:40

A passenger wearing a mask, as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, walks out of the international arrivals after landing from France at Dulles International airport in Dulles, Virginia on Thursday. Photo: AFP

The novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc across Europe and North America. The situation there is far from optimistic. Quite a few experts worry more countries will become the next Italy. Europe and North America are the most developed regions in the world, yet they seem quite vulnerable in the face of the virus. Lessons should be summarized. 

To begin with, many countries there lowered their guard at the very beginning, without real precautions against the possibility that the epidemic could occur in their countries and break out the way it did in Wuhan. Italy canceled all direct flights to China long ago, believing the measure would be effective. The country has thus relaxed its vigilance despite the fact that the virus could spread through various ways. 

Second, European and North American countries failed to take preemptive steps in epidemic prevention and control. Instead, they are led by the nose, with their moves always being one step after the spread of COVID-19.

Third, the overall degree of mobilization in European and American societies is low. Their governments have been giving in to their people's wish of not giving up their interests in daily life, while failing to attach more importance to the public's desire to place COVID-19 under control. Some governments have not played a decisive leading role in the fight against the virus out of economic and political considerations. 

Fourth, the above-mentioned problems have not been examined in European and North American countries. When explaining why they are not taking stricter measures, governments of some countries stated that it is not yet time. But the situation in severely affected countries is showing it would be too late to take further steps when they had to do so.

If the death rate of the novel coronavirus can be controlled, a slack way of coping with it without encumbering a society's normal economic operations might be a feasible public health approach. However, the coronavirus death rate is high in Italy as the pandemic has fueled social panic and severely disrupted the world financial order. Whether a relaxed attitude of "what will be, will be" in the fight against the virus can last long is uncertain. 

The WHO has provided some guidance on what to do. Yet they were not taken seriously by some countries. It is respective interactions between governments and public opinion in some European and North American countries that have shaped their strategy. Viruses do not stop at borders. That being said, countries across the globe should enhance cooperation and form a unified pattern in the fight against the epidemic. Different interests and geopolitical factors should be excluded during the process. Experience sharing should transcend competition among countries so as to help the world become more scientific and far-sighted in the coronavirus battle.

The US should show a more proactive attitude in promoting collaboration among countries to fight the pandemic. So far, Washington's performance does not deserve its global influence, which has in turn impacted its own interests. It's time for the country to adjust. 

Posted in: EDITORIAL

blog comments powered by Disqus