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(FILES) This file photo taken on March 17, 2020 shows travellers and their bags disinfected as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus before getting on a bus outside the New China International Exhibition Centre, near Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing. - Under pressure from anxious parents, Chinese citizens living in virus-hit Europe are flocking back home, with some even flying on private jets to escape the spiralling number of infections overseas. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)
(FILES) This file photo taken on March 17, 2020 shows travellers and their bags disinfected as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus before getting on a bus outside the New China International Exhibition Centre, near Beijing Capital Airport in Beijing. - Under pressure from anxious parents, Chinese citizens living in virus-hit Europe are flocking back home, with some even flying on private jets to escape the spiralling number of infections overseas. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

Undoubtedly, Covid is the most used word/acronym globally, introduced hardly a couple of months ago to describe a deadly novel coronavirus‎. Allegedly, originating in Wuhan - the epicentre - based in China last December, the virus spread like wild fire and subsequently declared to be pandemic by WHO (World Health Organisation), shifting the epicentre to Europe with Italy being the worst hit.

Covid-19

More than 100 countries are now in a broil facing varying difficulties to cope in mitigating the spread. At the time of writing over 200,000 are now infected worldwide, and more than 8,000 dead, and counting. Some likened the situation to war-like where no stone is left unturned.

Borders are closed, mobility is frowned upon, and resources as well as supplies are grossly restricted. The quest for a silver bullet has reached a frenzy state. The rush for an efficacious ‎vaccine is the singular target the world over. Realistically, this may well take many more months despite attempts to fast track it.

The toll is sure to rise given the abrupt assault on the unprepared global healthcare system. Curative solutions are typically tedious and also expensive. Nevertheless, all is not lost if China's experience is to be learned from where massive preventive measures are quickly put in place involving millions in the attempt to contain the infection.

WHO has praised the move as exemplary, although not after much controversies of possible "delays" in recognising the scourge. In essence, what has been carried out goes back to the very fundamental rules of hygiene, good behaviour and general cleanliness. The basic idea is to keep the virus a bay by executing them to bring out the values of quality living for individuals across the community.

For example, focusing on what is essential, effective and frequent hand washing, especially before food is vital. Next, when come in contact with hard surfaces that are publicly shared (eg door knobs, elevator buttons, light switches). Particularly, those associated with toilet use, at health care outlets and care-free leisure joints.

Hand shakes or other means of human-to-human contacts are to be avoided. Instead, social distancing (a space of 1 metre) is encouraged. Face masks must be considered if one is sick, or attending to a (suspected) infected person. In short, these are the values or virtues that will go a long way to protect and promote life of all those involved.

Ultimately, the bottom line is about being totally disciplined and dignified. This implies to be well prepared mentally especially in coping as well as keeping calm when faced with the full blown pandemic. Essential to this is trustworthiness between individuals, also in managing the information overload in order to optimise positive impact.

Without such an attitude, the fight against Covid-19 will be an uphill task. More so now with the recent order to restrict the movement of people. This is another new experience that most (save May 13, 1969) have no clue on how to react.

"Working from home" needs getting used to, at least by ensuring the following: have a simple dedicated workspace, and a daily planned work schedule. Make a to-do list and set periodic goals. Talk to colleagues and supervisors online when necessary, and perform light indoor exercises in between to avoid boredom. This includes induced-claustrophobic feeling, even suicidal tendency if not actively attended to.

While this may not be rampant, to lose even a single life in this way is tragic enough. Now that WHO has specifically warn countries in Southeast Asia to be more serious in dealing the Covid-19 “invasion,” the war metaphor may be a timely trigger. Like in all wars, due vigilance is supreme, to the extend that the use of words and acronyms are duly scrutinised for vital clues to mitigate, if not end, the war as such.

In this case, the acronym Covid-19 maybe just that: Converging On Values, Integrity & Discipline as elaborated above, enumerated by 19 salient points to be strictly adhered to. We should put this back to good use, permanently, as way of life in the uncompromising push to win the war and save humanity.

The writer, an NST columnist for more than 20 years, is International Islamic University Malaysia rector

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