ABU DHABI, 10th March, 2020 (WAM) — The turbulence caused by the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, continues unabated and the global community remains evidently rattled, a UAE newspaper has commented editorially, adding that since it first emerged in late December, 2019, over 110,560 cases have been recorded in as many as 100 countries and territories, killing 3,862 people.
“The impact has been mind-boggling. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been wiped from financial markets and millions of people in northern Italy have been put under lockdown,” said Gulf Today in an editorial on Tuesday, noting that the deadly virus has shuttered factories, extensively disrupted travel, delayed major conferences and sporting events and, adding to the anxiety, is still accelerating in many countries.
The paper continued, “Stock markets have fallen sharply worried by an historic crash in oil prices and by fears the coronavirus will affect the global economy.
“So much so that trading in New York had to be briefly halted immediately after opening as the S&P 500 fell 7%.
“Worries also persist that the spreading disease will force several economies into recession and this is where world leaders need to step in and allay fears of people through pro-active, collective action.
“Government policymakers should implement substantial targeted fiscal, monetary and financial market measures to combat the economic impact from the coronavirus, as recommended by International Monetary Fund, IMF, officials.
“IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath’s suggestion to put cash directly into the hands of households and businesses makes perfect sense.
“Broad interest rate cuts may instill confidence but would be effective in stimulating activity only once business conditions normalise.
“Households and businesses hit by supply disruptions and a drop in demand could be targeted to receive cash transfers, wage subsidies, and tax relief, helping people to meet their needs and businesses to stay afloat.
“The epidemic poses a global challenge and calls for a global response. The virus has bruised important sports events too. The BNP Paribas Open, set to begin this week in the California desert, won’t be played as scheduled.
In France, the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes will be played without fans. World Cup qualifying games in Asia have been formally postponed until at least September.
Robust containment and control activities are needed to reduce the impact of the virus and it is heartening that the UAE is moving on the right track on this front.
Since the emergence of the epidemic in China, the UAE authorities have spared no effort in monitoring the spread of the virus in the country and handling it according to the highest medical standards.
Several precautionary measures have been put in place, including the installation of detection thermal imaging systems and health checks at the country’s border entry points, and isolating confirmed and suspected cases.
Residents themselves have a crucial role to play during such challenging times. As suggested by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, members of the public should adhere to preventative health measures and refer to the tips offered on its website to prevent the spread of the disease.
Members of the community need to adopt healthy habits that help protect individuals from infectious diseases, including washing hands well with soap and water, and covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
“Also, people with respiratory symptoms must avoid mixing in crowded places, while members of the public also need to avoid misinformation and rumours by referring to official sources for information,” concluded the Sharjah-based daily.