By Fatima Nasser Al-Azmi
KUWAIT: The categorization of crises around the world differs according to their nature or type, and there is no doubt that the world is currently facing a health crisis with the spread of the new 2019/2020 Wuhan coronavirus, which started in the middle of Dec 2019 in this city located in the middle of China, and it was given the name CoV2019.
The patient suffers from severe pulmonary infection that may lead to death, while scientists are still developing a vaccine against this highly contagious virus. Deaths will exceed 1,000, while the number of cases is approaching 40,000. Many countries around the world have evacuated their citizens from China and others banned travel to China as the disease is spreading at a fast pace.
We are facing a true health crisis, so was real and fast preparation made for it? What did GCC countries, in particular, do in the form of precautionary and preventive measures towards it? There are many Chinese communities working in them and businessmen who are linked to many fields there, in addition to vast commercial exchanges by commercial ships and others.
Not only that, there are cultural and scientific exchanges too. Countries of the GCC have students on scholarships in China, and have a large number of Chinese workers, in addition to official delegations to China. Some cases of this killer virus have appeared in some GCC countries, so are we informed on a daily basis? Were there daily information messages to describe this virus and means of prevention from it in all types of media?
The holy month of Ramadan is near, during which we visit the Grand Mosque for umrah. Also, the hajj season is approaching, with millions of Muslims around the world converging to perform pilgrimage. Was this taken into consideration? This global health crisis will not disappear within days or weeks, as deaths are on the increase and infections continue every day. We are facing a real health crisis, and if one case enters Kuwait (Allah forbids), fear and panic will spread among people, apart from the many frightening rumors.
I hope that effective precautionary measures are taken at both the official and popular levels in GCC countries to face this condition by those concerned, be it in the health sectors or others. All new developments of this killer virus should be discussed, and all material and human facilities should face it and exert more efforts to prevent it from reaching the GCC countries, while taking strict measures at the borders and activating the role of health information in all GCC health ministries.