The world is reopening but coronavirus is far from gone
Countries are embarking on a phased opening up after months of movement restrictions, lockdowns and grounded flights due to the coronavirus pandemic. Greece has opened its doors to international tourists. France has now allowed cinemas to welcome audiences. And the UAE is preparing for life to go back to a semblance of normality after four months of restrictions, with cultural sites, commercial enterprises, and travel opening up. Yet on Sunday, the World Health Organisation reported a record number of coronavirus cases, with 183,020 new infections in a single day. At first glance, opening up while a pandemic is on the rise appears to be risky, especially after months-long efforts to contain the outbreak, but the truth is more nuanced and complex. The world today largely knows how to deal with Covid-19, and measures like wearing masks, sanitising, social distancing and taking precautions with those who have underlying conditions, are now known to help stem its spread. Airports and public places have been largely adjusted to meet safety needs. That was not the case in January. Furthermore, most of the new coronavirus cases are concentrated in the Americas, although Europe remains the largest centre for the virus, with a total of 2.5 million people having contracted it since the beginning of the outbreak.
While health authorities around the world formulate society-wide strategies to respond to the crisis, the general public also bears responsibility to curb the spread of the virus. Many have mistakenly associated the reopening of society and the economy with the notion that Covid-19 is no longer a serious threat, that the world somehow willed the virus away. As the WHO has demonstrated time and time again, this could not be farther from the truth. It is paramount for each and every person to abide by new precautions, hygiene rules and physical distancing measures needed to keep the virus at bay. If we are to once more enjoy a sense of normality, save livelihoods and enjoy time out with friends and family, we must also learn to keep one another safe. Many have mistakenly associated the reopening of society and the economy with the notion that Covid-19 is no longer a serious threat. Authorities now have the necessary tools and knowledge to identify coronavirus clusters and to contain the spread of Covid-19.