THE new year 2021 began with the world hanging on to the promise that much touted vaccines are ready to bullet-proof humanity against the Covid-19 scourge. To some, it might seem finally as the light at the end of the tunnel after a harrowing and scary 2020 that saw millions being infected with a virus whose globetrotting ability was unprecedented and whose touch caused the death of hundreds of thousands.
Even at this time, there is nothing yet to provide full understanding about what the Covid virus truly is and attempts by concerned governments to better comprehend the nature of the virus and its malignancy has not yet been achieved. Just a couple of days ago the World Health Organization (WHO) through its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized China for its last minute decision to block investigators researching the origin of the coronavirus in the province of Wuhan. It was reported that for the past few months the WHO has been preparing a 10-man team of experts to send to China in order to investigate and determine the origin of the virus and how it was able to cross into humans. The team which included epidemiologists and animal health specialists wanted to conduct its research at the suspected epicenter of the epidemic and where the virus was alleged to have originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China.
And again just more recently, a new variant of the virus which is reported to be more infectious although not as severe as the original one has begun infecting people at a rapid pace in several countries, and to which the Philippines understandably has responded by banning travel to and from these countries.
This is the reality of the situation as we usher in the new year.
But however grim the present reality is for most of us at the moment we take comfort by the fact that humanity since day one of the pandemic chose to fight and survive the continuing onslaught of the virus. That is why we now have several vaccines made available by various pharmaceutical companies and bio-tech corporations and which is currently in use by those so called first world or more developed countries. Here in the Philippines, preparations are already underway for the eventual purchase and utilization of vaccines. This is made clear in a 44 page document crafted by the National Task Force on Covid-19 entitled "National Action Plan (NAP) Against Covid-19, Phase III" with the motto "Saving Lives and Mitigating Impacts as One Towards Economic and Social Recovery." So know we know that all along, the government has a plan on how to eventually manage and mitigate whatever ill effects the virus has wrought on the people and the economy, and considering that it is already in phase III, we now understand that Phases I and II have already been implemented even during the early stages of the pandemic.
What this also tells us is that however unprecedented the pandemic was in scope and magnitude, the Philippine government did not back down from the challenge it posed and instead found ways and means on how to deal with it. The NAP against Covid-19 Phase III is certainly evidence on how the national government, as well as its instrumentalities and other branches, have proactively responded to the crisis. And this is how the rest of the world also responded although in varying degrees and effect.
This means therefore that as we begin the new year, we enter it with both caution and hope, a careful and vigilant journey that would seek to finally put an end to a worldwide pandemic and insure the survival of humanity well into the future.
This is the reality of the situation.