'Mock' drill

Many people misunderstood the intention behind the PM's call to honour healthcare, emergency and essential service workers at 5 pm on Sunday by gathering in large numbers outdoors to ring bells, plates and cymbals while even dancing, playing music and bursting crackers and turning the exercise into a celebration of sorts. The large crowds stood close together clapping and singing without masks or gloves on which defeats the very purpose of paying homage if it leads to further community spread and increases the burden on all those who are risking their lives for us. The Prime Minister had requested the public to only come out to the doors, windows and balconies of their homes, not to gather in large numbers on the streets. Sec 144 was already in place preventing people from gathering in large groups of more than ten but people seemed to have lost the message in their enthusiasm to participate. One moment is enough to transmit the virus to dozens so care should be taken to maintain social distance at all times. Also, if the PM wishes to continue this practice, perhaps he could add to the list of people to be encouraged the Coronavirus patients who are fighting to survive and those who have lost their lives in the effort so they too could gain strength from the community. There is an increasing tendency to stigmatise the Coronavirus patients as if they have knowingly brought the disease on themselves and spread it to others, as well as people from the northeast who have oriental features, as this virus is seen as a 'Chinese virus'. The PM can perhaps explain that the virus is the enemy, not the people it attacks so that patients are not demonised, hounded and shunned in very cruel ways, and that we are all in it together to defeat this monster, that the virus does not discriminate against young or old, rich or poor, black or white or any other race, and laying the blame at anyone's door is self-defeating, as it is no one's fault. Viruses can be defeated — through planning, patience and the smart technology that is available to strengthen the weapons already at our disposal. Empathy is the key, for those who are ill and those serving them and the public.

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