No scope for complacency in handling virus
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) warning that the world is entering “a new and dangerous phase” of the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be taken seriously by countries across the globe as infection rates continue to climb incessantly. The total number of global COVID-19 cases has already surged to over 8.7 million, while the deaths are nearing 463,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University. These frightening figures are an unquestionable indication that complacency in dealing with the virus could prove a deadly choice. With around 2,254,630 cases and 119,714 deaths, the United States continues with the world’s highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, which means that the country needs to do much more to tackle the invisible enemy. It should be noted that though most of the cases are being reported in the Americas, large numbers are also emerging from South Asia and the Middle East. As WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus points out, many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies. But the world is in a new and dangerous phase.
The virus is still spreading fast, it’s still deadly, and most people are still susceptible. Jobs, livelihoods and the well-being of workers, families and businesses across the globe, continue to take a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic; with micro, small and medium enterprises in particular, suffering the dire economic consequences, according to a new policy brief released by the United Nations. In the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down. Every worker, every business and every corner of the globe has been affected. Hundreds of millions of jobs have been lost.” Vulnerable groups are particularly affected, including informal workers, young people, women, persons with disabilities, refugees and migrants, highlights the World of Work and COVID-19 . The report has revealed the disproportionate and devastating impact on young people, raising the possibility of an entire so-called “lockdown generation”, which will likely emerge with fewer skills and smaller pay packets. A mass killer virus is on the prowl and caution and solidarity remain key words in tackling the situation. Going by the ground realities, it is increasingly clear that countries and people need to remain vigilant against the disease, and continue efforts focused on containing the disease, including through testing and contact tracing.