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Opinions of Saturday, 21 March 2020

Columnist: Caesar Kaba Kogoziga

Coronavirus: The cry of a global citizen in an unprepared generation


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Undoubtedly, the outbreak of COVID19 met our generation unprepared. May all the departed souls who could not live long enough to fully understand the disease that infected them, or even know the name, continue to rest in peace.

You are victims of the collective unpreparedness of our generation, a generation that prefers military and trade wars to global partnership and collective peace and safety. Maybe, the rest of us will join you in the next outbreak, or when the effect of Climate Change become intolerable, because they may still meet us unprepared.

First, it was reported as a Wuhan virus, then a Chinese virus, but scientist have now defined it as Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID19). The virus since first recorded in Wuhan-China in December 2019, has now spread across the globe, killing thousands of people.

The World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. Till date, COVID19 has no known cure or vaccine, but consistent hand hygiene is said to be the most potent preventive measure.

Even after existing for over two months before crossing some borders, it still caught several nations by surprise and unprepared. Instead of joining forces to eliminate the virus in Wuhan, we preferred in-coherent national reactionary strategies to fight what we did not understand.

World leaders did not put to good use the last goal on the list of the Sustainable Development Goals, partnership. Goals that only had full collective collaboration in the formulation phase.

COVID19 is testing our habits, health systems, economies, leadership and many more human structure that require improvement. But most importantly, it reminds all of us that the effects of real challenges, some of which are yet to arrive, are no respecter of the artificial borders that we ourselves have created; we have more in common that what we perceive to be our differences. We must therefore first of all respect our global citizenship status before any secondary affiliation.

To every human being across the globe, we have all suffered and may continue to suffer the effects of this global catastrophe; we have either been infected, lost a loved one or suffered from the usually neglected component of health, the psychological and emotional consequences of the pandemic. We thank whatever Gods may be for our resistant immune systems, fortitude and unconquerable souls.

Like the Spanish flu pandemic that infected about 27% of the world’s population between 1918 and1920, SARS that appeared in China in 2002 and killed thousands across 26 countries, and the recurring Ebola Virus that has an average fatality rate of about 50%; COVID19 may not be the last challenge.

We must prepare for more complicated global challenges of different forms. Yes! This too shall pass, but the lessons must remain. Will the next outbreak meet us unprepared? Will we still continue to chase individual national progress and advancement while neglecting the call for enhanced partnership and collaboration? Are we going to continue to allow our perceived differences to drive decisions and pretend not to understand the true meaning of globalization and our global village?

To all the global leaders, your actions to combat this global crises are as important as the path you choose to take after the pandemic; we need collaborative and proactive leadership, not a reactionary one. To the global corporate community, your businesses are just as strong as all of us; invest in humanity.

I also call on all the experts across the globe, be louder; shape conversations and global policy, your knowledge and skills must be put to effective use. You must be more committed to speaking honestly than receiving the approval of political leadership. And to you, colleague global citizens, we all have innate capabilities that are superior to the powers of conferred titles.

Like Barrack Obama said ‘you might be locked up in a world not of your own making, but you still have a claim on how it is shaped.’ We all have responsibilities, let us all practice the preventive measures to limit the spread. When all this is over, may we all play our part in organizing a globe that is more prepared and resistant to the next outbreak.

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