Muscat: On July 14, 2020, if you remember I wrote COVID-19 isn’t going away.
A year after, with the announcement of extended lockdown timings during the second half of this month, and a complete ban on movement and commercial activities during Eid Al Adha, we find ourselves in a position very similar to last year.
I am sure all of us had made plans for this Eid, but they will need to be put on hold for a while.
At least until our country is able to overcome the dangers of COVID-19.
The decisions recently announced by the Supreme Committee have surely made many of us more than a bit concerned.
But we cannot blame our problems on the decisions taken by the Supreme Committee – they are doing right now, what they feel is best to protect our lives. Understand that we need to shoulder some of the blame on ourselves.
The only way we can protect ourselves right now is to lead a healthy life. Over the last 15 or so months, since the start of the pandemic, many of us have seen and heard of close friends and relatives affected by the COVID-19.
I too have seen many friends infected by the disease: some were mildly affected, others had more severe forms of infection, and a few had to be admitted to the hospital. It is most unfortunate that some of the people we know have also passed away due to the pandemic.
At such times, it is only natural to wonder why some people have survived the disease, while others succumbed to it. All of this boils down to our health. Doctors say that if a person has a good immune system, then they will only suffer mild symptoms.
The Supreme Committee has taken the decision to lockdown to keep us all safe, but that does not mean the virus is going to go away. Many countries know their people are fed up with the constant lockdowns at what it does to daily life, so they have vaccinated their people and told them to take care and follow the precautions required.
A case in example is Singapore, which has decided to live with the virus and treat it like the flu, once enough people have been vaccinated against it. This, they consider to be their new normal.
Unfortunately, many of us have lost many friends – young and old – but we cannot jeopardise the whole country for a few weeks of lockdown. Life, after all, has to continue.
The cycle of locking down will have a huge impact on our economy, our lifestyle, and the wellbeing of our people. It will devastate our way of life, and the longer we resort to acts such as partial and complete lockdowns, the longer we will take to recover from such actions. What’s more is that only if all of us work together, we will be actually able to recover.
Yes, lockdown orders today might call for us all to make sacrifices, but there is also a cost associated with undoing its impact later. Many companies – especially in the private sector – might not be able to survive during the recovery process. This will be a burden on the nation.
If we need to emerge from a situation where the virus continues to cause us untold damage, then it is up to all of us to be healthy. Eat the right food, exercise, go out to take some fresh air – do not be so afraid of catching the virus that you become paranoid and refuse to go outside.
When you are sad, worried, or anxious, your immunity is after all automatically lowered: this might only increase your chances of getting the virus. Health is, after all, holistic. Search the net, and consult with a dietitian or health coach on how to boost your immune system, especially with the new Epsilon strain of COVID-19 found to be more resistant to vaccines.
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, stay at home for now if you are afraid of infection, but keep your spirits up.
That is one of the best ways to protect yourself against infection.
At the same time, I hope better steps are taken to sustain the economy. Otherwise, I am afraid we might suffer until the middle of next year. It takes two weeks for us to rid ourselves of the virus. Undoing the effects of the lockdown, however, takes a lot longer.
I hope, therefore, that there are solutions to people who have their own businesses and/or are working in the private sector. Otherwise, it might negatively affect our economy. Many private businesses, for example, have taken loans to grow their businesses. But since they are badly affected now, a lot of owners cannot afford to repay them.
If we cannot repay our loans, we will be prosecuted according to the law. This could most definitely affect every other aspect of our lives. These rules, which have been made by the decision makers, strongly affect our businesses during these tough times.
Sadly, it is not possible for us to follow some of the rules related to our businesses right now, because of the current circumstances. When this happens, we are severely punished.
I ask the government now to please help us people because of the challenges we’re facing right now and later. Please make decisions that assist us at present and in the future. A lockdown strongly hurts the economy, so there also needs to be solutions that help restore the business sentiments in the country.
In the meantime, let us all do our best to keep the virus at bay, and as hard as it may be, look towards the future with confidence and optimism. It is the best way to succeed.