New Zealand (NZ) recently celebrated “VICTORY” over COVID–19 pandemic with a massive musical show, attended by over 50,000 fans.
The decision by New Zealanders to hold such a fiesta well and truly raises doubts over their true understanding of the pandemic which is rampant in many parts of the globe. Thus far, the NZ administration has unambiguously won the admiration worldwide for its rational approach to the pandemic.
However, the news of celebrations over a pandemic is indeed very premature and beyond my grasp. It is a truly idiosyncratic behaviour on the part of NZ administration. According to sources, NZ has indeed reported, though small in number, some COVID patients over the past one week. It means that NZ is a country not without patients, however small it is. It is somewhat similar to the early phase of the pandemic in most countries. Thus it has the potential to shoot up in no time. Further, in a pandemic of this sort, no country could be considered safe in isolation until the entire world is free from the problem. This is particularly so, under the current context, where there is very free and frequent travelling across the world by people.
Therefore, in my view, promotion of celebrations over “VICTORY” over COVID control will invariably remove the sensitivity of people to the pandemic. They in fact may get the impression that their country is truly free from danger of COVID, thus giving a false sense of security. Hence, desensitization and a false sense of security will lead to complacency which can in turn be the biggest enemy and threat to all.
In addition to being irrational, this is a gross underestimation of the problem which is definitely not in their favour or welfare.
In this surprisingly bizarre move by NZ, there are lessons to be learnt by Sri Lanka and other countries i.e. to not follow such irrational behaviour.
Prof Ananda Jayasinghe
Faculty of Medicine
University of Peradeniya