Coronavirus cases announced in UAE: This not a drill


The fears have, unfortunately, come true. The country’s ports were on full alert even before cases were detected.

‘Are the rumours true, Albus?’ Professor McGonagall asked that of Professor Dumbledore in the opening scene of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. The official news about the first confirmed case of the Wuhan virus in the UAE did put the hush-hush rumours to rest, but as Professor Dumbledore answered (I’m afraid so, Professor. the good and the bad), we need to now process the news with care and conscientiousness. Four members of a Chinese family, arriving from the city of Wuhan on January 16, have now been diagnosed as the first confirmed cases in the country of the deadly virus that has, so far, affected over 6,000 worldwide and claimed 132 lives.

The UAE is a hub of humanity and millions of tourists and friends/family members visit the country every month. Chances of the fast-spreading Wuhan 2019-nCoV coronavirus visiting our shores, therefore, were always high. The fears have, unfortunately, come true. The country’s ports were on full alert even before these cases were detected, and the situation now requires everyone to be more aware and vigilant. Now that the virus has reached our shores, we must all follow the best of hygiene standards. It is not a drill. It may seem like being overcautious, but using surgical masks of the right rating (N95) when venturing in public spaces won’t hurt, as won’t using a good quality of hand sanitiser liberally.

‘Can we panic now?’ That’s what the 12-year-old Ron Weasley, who suffers from arachnophobia (intense fear of spiders), asks his friends Harry and Hermione when confronted by Aragog (a giant spider), who’s ready to have the trio for dinner. If that’s something that’s playing on your mind as a parent, spouse or sibling, then rest assured. The UAE’s health ministry has been updating the situation with healthy regularity and has categorically maintained that there is no cause for concern.

And while precaution is, obviously, better than cure, do remember that more than 100 of those infected have fully recovered from the virus. In the end, let’s remember that while it is time to be careful and cautious, we need to get on with our lives and not overthink it. As Professor Dumbledore says in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

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