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The COVID-19, known previously as novel coronavirus, has now entered the country. But we have always been aware that we will not be spared the attack from this severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Prevention so was our main focus right after the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global health emergency.

Now with the first confirmed case in the country, the priority has shifted to containment, early detection, and clinical management. That we are not overwhelmed by the number of positive and suspect cases in the country is indicative of a robust system of prevention in place.

But coming together as a nation to fight the disease is more important. Blaming each other will be in vain and more damaging.

It is perhaps only human to react to a disease like the coronavirus with fear and panic. Shops have run out of hand sanitisers, gloves and facemasks. Many have started hoarding fuel and grocery items. There is really no need to stockpile supplies.

What we seem to lack is common sense, perhaps the only way yet to tackle the disease at this time. And that can happen only with maintaining “clear and consistent messaging.” Help and information lines have been established and there are health protocols to observe on all fronts.

We can ill afford to stumble on things and become scatterbrained. In other words, practical common-sense approach, taking all reasonable precautions, is the best and only way to move forward. And we are doing well but cannot be complacent.

What we must know, more important, is that feeding dread will not help. Nor will making it light, as many tend to do, particularly on social media. Rush Limbaugh comes to mind. Folks, The COVID-19 is no ordinary or common cold. If not handled well, we risk inviting serious disruptions in society.

So, how can we contribute individually? The best way is to refrain from amplifying unjustified fear. That does not mean we should play down the dangers that the disease can bring. 

Disinformation is spearing fast and that can be more damaging.

As a small and close-knit society, there will no doubt be costs involved. The handling of the positive and possible surge in cases will demand extraordinary financial, space, and expertise management.

But if we are focused, handling the challenges will not be intractable. As yet, however, without medicines and treatment, we have only common sense and health protocols to rely on.

In his “Anatomy of an Illness” Norman Cousins put it most succinctly: “Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.”

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