Dear Editor,

While I would applaud our government for ensuring that we continue to remain one of only 33 countries in the world with no COVID-19 infections, I cannot help allude to us, if I may be frank, that our current COVID-19 free status is to a large extent attributable to mere luck.

Effort, if any, would have been negligible. We closed our borders — that was about all the effort necessary, and thank God we were timely in doing so.

Not that I intend on the arrogance of taking anything away from WHO-sponsored initiatives like hand-washing. Such mundane measures would have found their worth in due course, perhaps in minimizing communal transmission, God forbid, should the pandemic been imported.

But would that have been enough? What could we have done to ensure health to our people in the event of an incurable viral infection? In the event of an outbreak, what really could we have done?

Nothing of any real impact! If I may write very bluntly.

We would have been decimated, just as our forebears were in the old “missionary” days when we imported malaria. I am of the opinion that we currently lack any real biological and health infrastructures and facilities. I am also of the opinion that we do not yet have a plan to endeavour into the areas of biological, health and medical research.

Correct me if I have erred in thinking so.

Our country owes a lot to the lawyers, educators, managers, social workers and economists who have come before us and ensured our position and standing in the world today. Still, collectively, they are as invaluable a component as they are integral to the functioning and keeping of our societal fabric. But now we are faced, as is the result of this one-sided historical focus, with a skewing problem. In terms of human resources and policies, infrastructures and facilities, perhaps to the extent of national vision, we are skewed towards a largely non-science purview.

If COVID-19 has taught us any lesson, it should be that left uncheck, the lack of a nation-view towards biological and health sciences and medical research could in the future, effortless bring our society to its knees. The current global pandemic is proof enough.

We have been saved by our isolation this time around – make no mistake!

With increased globalization, isolation would simply not hold. We should not always count on being sequestered from global events much less future viral pandemics. It would appear that our global tag of being “the most vulnerable” need not only necessarily apply to natural climatic disasters.

I hope in alternative will, a more calculative perspective.

Sincerely concerned

Your fellow citizen

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