Coronavirus Brings People to Consensus: We Do Not Trust The System
By Nour Rida
Precautionary measure and quarantine are essential to slow the spreading of Coronavirus. Since its growth is exponential, it is directly related to the contact of the persons [quarantine, lockdown, social distancing] and the probability of infection [hand sanitizing, masks, gloves, etc]. It is also essential that governments take swift action to control the situation.
People across the world, for the first time in long decades suffer from the same calamity. They all have the same fear; facing an unknown virus that is taking away lives of people within days. Even though scientists and researchers have assured that 70 to 80 percent of those infected by the virus can recover by themselves, but a state of panic and alarm is prevailing. This state of panic and mistrust of the government is not in Iran, nor in countries like Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq or in African countries that have concerns over the humble health system. It is people at the heart of Europe, Australia and the Americas freaking out. To this concern, al-Ahed news interviewed people from different countries to see what things are like on the ground.
Starting with the UK, Nadine said that the UK is very slow in taking measures. “Students are still regularly going to their schools and public areas are packed with people. During the coming two weeks or even months we will witness a peak in COVID-19 spread. There was only one late step made as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a quarantine for people older than 70 years.”
Nadine has been to the supermarket multiple times now to buy some food, tissue paper and essential goods but all she finds is empty shelves and people quarreling.
“It is crazy at supermarkets, so much hoarding on goods and people are literally getting into fights over tissue paper and other goods. The prices doubled and the shelves are empty even though the government claimed there will be no shortage. Every time I go to the supermarket I do not find anything to buy.”
It does not seem that the health care system is trustworthy. Nadine adds, “And then if you get sick and call 999 or 111 they ask you to stay home, there is no place at the hospitals. There are no real measures to contain the situation. Here people talk a lot about Johnson’s plan of herd immunity, and about the greed of the government which aims at preventing the health system from paying tremendous amounts of money. So the old and sick with no immune system can die and the rest will survive.”
Moving to the US, from Apex, North Carolina, Nancy who is a software engineer told al-Ahed news “I feel really afraid, capitalist countries like our country takes the lives of human beings for granted. Governments here evaluate us as potential for making money and to lift the economy.”
She said that hospitals are not carrying out tests for the virus unless the case is very severe. The performance of the government is terrible and the health sector is not ready to face such an epidemic. It is also scary to see people rush to the stores to pile goods at their homes and buy guns too.
From Canada, Jaden, a university student from Montreal told the news website “It feels weird. For the first time in my life I feel like the globe is facing an imminent danger including everyone. There is a lot of tension in the air, and unfortunately we see greed and selfishness.
Feeling sad that people are so selfish and acting inhumane, he added “It is like everyone here is only concerned with their own lives. We see that in the quarrels taking place in the supermarkets over goods and how suddenly all the shelves are empty.”
Ahmed, from Australia’s Sydney said he witnessed a quarrel of a few women over tissue paper and canned food. “As much hilarious as it was, it was painful and scary.”
“I think it is all about feeling like you are in control and that is because of mistrust of the government and the system. People are scared but they do not realize how they are affecting the society. It is selfishness and inhumanity that I see in these scenes.”
Asma from Germany says hundreds stand at the doors of hypermarkets and supermarkets and rush in to hoard goods in what seems to be like a famine is hitting the planet. Born to a German mother and originally an Iranian father, she said that there is no mercy among people and it is so scary to see Germany in that state of chaos.
“Like I could never imagine my country, Germany as such. There is so much greed in the air. I understand that people are afraid but why not help one another survive this crisis. But again, people do not trust the system here, they fear for their lives.”
After a long period of slow response, suddenly, Switzerland found itself in the middle of 4 seriously hit countries, Italy, France, Germany and to a lesser extent, Austria. There are a lot of cross-border workers from these countries to Switzerland. Italy and France are severely hit and the pandemic epicenter is shifting to Western Europe. These cross-border transported the virus to Switzerland much faster than previously thought or expected and now the situation became critical.
Karina, a Swiss citizen told al-Ahed news “After a relative period of calm and feeling of security, suddenly, the general public is facing soaring numbers of cases, drastic measures reaching total lockdown, airports closure, shops closure, etc. Obviously, this is creating a panic situation especially that the public was not well aware of the extent of the situation.”
She added “The actions taken by the government were a bit late. The situation is already out of control and the growth rate is enormous. Since Switzerland is a federal state, each canton decided to take measures according to its own institutions.”
Karina explained that in principle, goods availability is insured by a very strong public security system, however, people are panicking and stockpiling essential goods and food at home. “Supermarkets started to be overwhelmed by the number of clients but the situation is still controllable. However, people are very collaborative and respect the orders given by the authorities.”
Emilio, a Mexican engineer said his country has not taken efficient measures on time. “There are panic shopping in the markets but still there is no chaos so far.”
Asked on whether he trusts the health and political systems, he said “Honestly no. I think the answer of our government is being slow and not appropriate.”
At the time when it is important to stock up on some things while waiting out Covid-19 and being ready for maybe compulsory quarantine for two weeks or a few, hoarding unnecessary items can deplete the supply for everyone else. Yes, being prepared for a possible quarantine is smart but also being caring about other members of the society is an essential characteristic of being a human being. It remains a wonder to see people of the so-called “developed countries” [ruled by governments that see themselves superior in this world] witness such a state of mistrust and chaos.