What patriotism demands in the war against Coronavirus

EDITORIAL 25 Mar 2020
What patriotism demands in the war against Coronavirus

A certain disease that has come to be known as Coronavirus and codenamed COVID 19, has killed thousands of people throughout the world, according to the World Health Organisation. Never has a single pandemic shaken the entire world so horribly, to the extent that, humanity no longer seems able to believe that the world could be entangled in such a state of panic and loss of self assurance, all of a sudden.
It all started in China, which has already recorded a death toll of more than Three Thousand Five Hundred, spreading fast to other countries, including France, Italy, Belgium and other European countries, most of them badly hit. The situation is such that, not a single country in the world is at the moment able to speculate where next. It has crossed over to the Americas and even the Arab world. The consoling development is that drastic measures are being taken to at least check the rate at which it is spreading.
Perhaps the most effective of these measures being adopted by almost every country for now, is the closure of borders, air, sea and land borders. We consider this measure as being effective for the fact that this disease is exported from its country of origin being China, and that for other countries to prevent it from entering their territories through people traveling from affected countries, it is better for borders to be closed.
It is obvious that the gravity of the situation is evident enough. Looking at it from any angle, the conclusion is that humanity is facing a strange threat to life. Much more needs to be done at the level of individual countries to save humanity from this calamity. Fortunately Cameroon has joined other countries in putting in place certain measures which include border closure.
But while we strongly appreciate government’s move in taking a series of measures aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic, we think it acted a little sluggishly in addressing the situation. We are saying this with certainty because the first case was detected on a passenger from France at the Yaounde Nsimalen international airport nearly two weeks ago. The number of cases continued to rise progressively, while the borders remained open and flights continued to bring in passengers, most of whom were detected with Coronavirus.
As at the time of our going to press, there were already over 40 detected cases as tweeted by Cameroon’s health minister, Manaouda. Our regret here is therefore that, government did not apply the necessary prompt action. We strongly believe that if the borders had been closed early enough, after the first case was detected, and even after our closest neighbour Nigeria had announced one or two cases, we could not have found ourselves in the situation in which we are presently.
All said, we think the minister of public health should be given a part on the back for his solo initiative in prescribing for the public consumption certain basic ad conventional sanitary rules, such as constant washing of the hands and avoiding close contacts with people, avoiding handshakes etc. He also prescribed quarantine measure for people entering the country through the borders. It was not until towards the end of last week that the Prime Minister, Dr. Dione Ngute, on the instructions of the head of state, announced a series of measures which included the closure of all borders.
Some of the thirteen items on the list of measures seemed difficult and debasing no doubt, but they stood as necessary weapons for the war against a common enemy. It only required that Cameroonians put in a spirit of patriotism by simply respecting the measures, so to save the country from a looming danger. It also required that we throw overboard our pride and personal justification. The issue of subjecting in- coming passengers under the process of Quarantine is one that ought not to annoy anyone, or humiliate anyone, no matter his or her position in society. Yet this is exactly what happened!
Regrettably enough, a prominent member of society, in the person of the Speaker of the national assembly, who was on board an Air France plane carrying about one hundred and forty passengers from France, a major affected country decided to ignore this measure of being subjected to a process of Quarantine for a prescribed period of fourteen days. The truth is that we are in the middle of a national emergency in which, humility counts in our approach to the situation. This is not the best of time for politics. It is a question of saving our beloved country from doom. We must therefore rally behind government. And all that is required of us is to respect the measures taken. There is much hope we shall survive the storm.

About the author

Leave A Reply

Leave A Reply