THERE was a forewarning last month that unless countries implement a measure that appropriately contains the virus, it would affect 70 percent of the world’s population. This was stated after the first wave of virus infection. Not many seriously took notice of the statement considering that the infection was only threatening China at that time. There was a respite after this first wave and the world was not ready when the second occurrence came in.
Even President Duterte, like many other world leaders, underestimated the spread and impact of the virus. This is not blaming him. Why restrict the movement of people that hinders economic progress and severe political ties when the danger is not seen imminent? There was a call to the president to impose a ban on people coming from China but this call was belittled and even scoffed at through the words of Panelo. According to an article online, more than 400,000 individuals from Wuhan China visited the country from December 2019 to February of this year. The reason for not implementing the ban is clear- to avoid offending China and to protect the tourism industry. Not bad but refusing to take heed of the impending danger at that time resulted in the current catastrophe.
United States of America and Italy receive the same criticism today. They were too late to act against the spread of the virus because they think that this crisis was too small to waste their time and resources. These are first world countries but they are struggling to contain the spread of the virus. They are surely capacitated but it was too late to control the danger. Italy has been declared the new Covid-19 epicenter and Europe the new battleground. As of this writing, France and Spain are nearing the thousand death mark. Since the outbreak, there have been almost 7000 deaths globally.
I am not playing all-knowing here but if the ban was heeded the first time it was asked, we could have prevented the widespread infection. In the country, two days ago Cagayan Valley recorded its first case and the other day Iloilo had their first one too. It is spreading fast and wide. We have an ambassador in China and there should have been a report coming from this office about nature and the foreseen effect on the virus. Should there be one, it could have helped the president come up with an earlier preventive measure. The problem is, there might have been a report only it might have been ignored. Now the consequences.
To take heed of the sign of times and the call of our conscience is a sign of wisdom. It is not an expression of fear or weakness. On the other hand, to take heed speaks of bravery. There is genuine courage in receiving criticisms and mockery should there was no threat at all. Trump should have been laughing by now and calling other leaders “idiot” if the virus failed to become pandemic or be this kind of problematic. But the lark was on him and others who did not take heed (Pity and mercy to all who perish due to the negligence of those grasping power). Officials describe the spread of the virus in America “like a bullet train.”
How can you stop a bullet train?
Perhaps it is human nature that people fail to understand the reality of a problem unless it befalls on them. Obedience is difficult and some people will always be defiant to orders because they have not been affected yet. The number of cases in the country continues to rise and the World Health Organization (WHO) says the pace of the rise is quicker this time. We have not reached the peak of the pandemic yet. We have more than 500 positive cases now and thousands are put under the people under investigation (PUI) and people under monitoring (PUM). We have not reached the darkest of the night yet.
Take heed, follow the orders even if is quite late because in saving ourselves we are saving others.