Pandemic could hit our tourism industry
We in Bermuda, like much of the world, can only watch and listen to escalating reports of the deadly coronavirus, which has been spreading globally as world health officials warn of a potential pandemic.
The virus began its attack in China and officials there were initially reluctant to acknowledge that this virus was something different from the common flu virus that most nations deal with every year during the cold months.
The virus has already affected most major countries, resulting in massive changes to travel plans and a cancellation of some public events.
Some experts feel unless the problem is addressed by all countries, large and small, the world economy could be seriously impacted, a matter of concern for all.
Here in Bermuda, health officials have declared that steps have been taken to prepare for the coronavirus threat.
Much of China has turned into pockets of isolation, with major cities reduced to ghost towns, with few people on the streets, and those who venture out do so with face mask protection.
The virus has not only attacked the China population, but has also disrupted one of the largest economies in the world.
A significant part of their export industry has suffered as many workers remain at home to avoid being exposed to the virus, which has already claimed the lives of close to 3,000 people.
Although some of the latest reports out of China, indicate that the number of new cases has fallen, most health officials view such reports with caution, since the virus is still being studied with no clear information on whether it is seasonal or not. Any type of vaccine to combat the coronavirus is said to be about 18 months away.
Not good news for the many countries bracing for an encounter with a virus that so far has just about every country on edge on how to tackle the health issue.
The effect the virus has had in the business world sent the stock market plunging in America, with the administration coming under fire for downplaying the crisis.
In fact, President Donald Trump, while on a visit to India, announced that the US had the situation under control, even though there were people in the country with the virus.
A number of health experts were not in agreement with that assessment, which many felt was contrary to what World Health Organisation officials were saying about being extra cautious with a virus yet to be understood.
With a political fever mounting every day over a presidential election later this year and the coronavirus spreading like the wildfires of Australia, there are conflicting messages between the Democrats and the Republicans over who is doing what to protect the nation from having the China experience.
Many Americans have a growing concern that political wrangling could be hampering a more cohesive effort to contain a virus that is already affecting life in some parts of America.
Our tourism industry thrives mostly on business out of the United States, and should the virus slip out of control there, it could have a devastating effect on our economy, which is in need of a boost rather than any type of slowdown.
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Ada Nyabongo (1926-2020)
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