What the world and Nigeria need to do in the battle against COVID-19

As of early April, Covid-19 has spread to 186 countries across the world with more than 800,000 confirmed cases and more than 38,000 lives perished.  Currently, the majority of confirmed cases are in Europe and US, but the deadly virus is also here and now in the African continent, including Nigeria.

Many countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa have already shut down their borders while implementing various lockdown measures in their cities in an all-out effort to stop the spread of Covid-19. However, as United States of America President Donald Trump recently directed the continuation of social distance policy until the end of April, the world is likely to keep battling against the virus for some weeks to come at the very least.

Under these circumstances, people naturally wonder what the world and each country should do to minimize the catastrophic impact of this virus and turn the situation around. It is well worth paying attention to what South Korean President remarked during the recent G-20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19.

As many  medical experts and World Health Organization (WHO) now acknowledged, South Korean model in dealing with Covid-19 is exemplary with its transparency, robust testing and screening, utilizing IT technology, and public trust. Recently, more than 47 countries have asked about importing South Korean-made Covid-19 test kits, while an additional 39 countries have requested them as humanitarian aid. Even US President Trump in his recent phone conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed hope that South Korea could provide the medical devices to help contain the spread of respiratory illness in the US.

Therefore, looking at the remarks of the leader of the country that has been dealing with Covid-19 better than any other country is timely and pertinent.

While admitting that the battle against Covid-19 is difficult and saying that the country remains committed to continuously improving and refining quarantine measures, South Korean President Moon made three good proposals to the world to better cope with the current crisis.

First, he stressed that the G-20 member countries must share all their clinical data and quarantine experiences from combating Covid-19, as well as work together towards developing therapeutics and a vaccine. He added that G-20 counties must cooperate in providing support to nations with less developed healthcare systems.

Secondly, President Moon said that the world must use all available means to adopt expansionary macroeconomic policies, strengthen the global financial safety net, and work together for the economic stability of the least-developed and impoverished nations.

Lastly, the president reiterated that in order to minimize Covid-19’s negative repercussion on the global economy, it is vital that countries maintain the flow of essential economic exchanges. To that end, he emphasized that to the extent that the world does not undermine any one country’s efforts at disease control, the world needs to seek ways to allow for the travel of essential persons such as scientists, medical professionals and business leaders.

As each country in every continent is now struggling to prevent the spread of Covid-19 internally and trying to protect its own economy and interests, these proposals seem a bit distant from reality. However, the proposals are the right direction for the world to take to overcome the invisible threat from the virus and self-interests of each country.

Nigeria, like many countries in the world, is heavily suffering from the current crisis. Some renowned banks like Bank of America and Barclays recently predicted that the global oil prices can go down below 10 dollars per barrel. The economic repercussion and negative impact on the ordinary Nigerians’ daily life will terribly worsen without world’s collective efforts to overcome the situation.

It is high time that the world took the advice from the leader of the country that somehow turned the situation around in its fight against Covid-19, And so should Nigeria.

Isaac writes from Abuja

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