Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mauritius’ Dr. Gurib-Fakim on Covid-19 times

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions.

By H.E. Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, VI President of Mauritius (2015-18).

Covid-19 is a formidable, dangerous and invisible enemy sparing no one – rich or poor, old and even the young. Ever since it appeared in China in late 2019, institutions like the WHO have been warning us against it.  It is not likely to go away soon either. Covid-19 will persist, reappear and re-emerge to hit the rest of the world with further rounds that will prolong the crisis.

The world has not seen such tragedy except if we go back to 1918 – just over a century ago. Whilst Covid-19 is sweeping across the world, it is leaving trails of destruction with loss of lives. All health systems, even the most sophisticated and best funded are buckling under the pressures of the virus.  Let us cast a thought to the poorer countries and fragile communities where they will not have the testing equipment, ventilators, medical supplies and where social distancing and even washing hands are difficult to achieve. 

We used to greet people with hugs and kisses and now these acts of tenderness are no longer allowed. We valued money and now we realize that even that cannot buy us ventilators or essential medicines. We have taken so much for granted especially our families.  With confinement being imposed in many countries, we have suddenly realized that power and money are perhaps not as important as the oxygen that we need to get better.

This confinement period is highly opportune to stop our rat race and spend more time with our families, focus on our values, reset and realign our priorities.  We must also learn that Nature’s bounty is not infinite and it must be protected at all cost and respected. There is no Planet B and that Mankind is very much part of the ecosystem and not outside of it. Let us put our money where our mouth is – capitalize our institutions, invest in research so that vaccines and therapeutics are made available. Let us see how we can alleviate the debt of some fragile states so that they can invest in their populations through proper social security nets and opportunities for the youth. Let us show greater solidarity. 

When we come out of this, we will realize, at least one thing – that business as usual is no longer an option. We will have to radically change the way we have been operating, show more care and tenderness to our families, give them more of our time; show more respect to our institutions and professionals.  By investing more in our institutions, we will increase our chances next time – yes there will be next times as soon we have to tackle the challenges and impacts of a changing Climate.  

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Image by Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim 

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