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FILE PIX: Microscopic illustration of the 2019 coronavirus that was discovered in Wuhan, China.
FILE PIX: Microscopic illustration of the 2019 coronavirus that was discovered in Wuhan, China.

THE coronavirus is no ordinary flu. You just can’t sneeze it away. Nor pop a common cold pill and stop the nose being runny.

Mix Covid-19’s epidemiology and our heedlessness, we have a formula for disaster in our hands. And in the case of Malaysia, it takes the shape of the second wave.

In this most difficult of times, we do not want to isolate anyone for national scolding, but the heedlessness of Patient 26 had something to do with it. He should have known flying in and out of China at a time when the virus was most virulent was a cavalier courage. But to have come back and not to be in self-isolation for the 14-day incubation period borders on the side of being irresponsible.

Planeloads of people may have been affected, not to mention contacts at airports, offices and everything in between.

Take heed, people. Get to know Covid-19 so we can keep it at a safe distance. This is not a call to turn us all into epidemiologists. There is no need to. Besides, it will take at least six years.

Even simple Simon can know Covid-19’s science. It is a virus that is transmitted by droplets and is spread by contact. So stay clear of people and places that are Covid-19 infected.

There is no need to fly into the epicentre of the virus, unless it means your life depends on the trip. But consider this: being there may also threaten your life and the lives of others when you return.

Prevention is better than cure. It is for this reason countries opt for lockdowns and bans, drastic though these may appear.

Companies should have some form of Covid-19 crisis management policy. The first paragraph should begin by saying: “No travel to epicentres, unless for emergencies”.

If the staff do go there, they must be made aware of precautions to take and precautions to adopt when they return. Self-imposed isolation is surely one. Employees who are not well must be advised to work from home. Companies must provide protective gear for its staff, especially front office employees. Do screen visitors, for you never know where they have been.

There is one other thing people need to take heed of. Keep away from wildlife. Most of all, do not eat wild animals. End demand and the supply will, too. They are called wildlife for a reason. We should not rob them of their habitats. For if we do that, they will come running into ours.

When wildlife meets human life, you get contagious contact. That happened in December, or thereabouts. We have come to call it Covid-19. If we remain heedless, there will be Covid-20, Covid-21 ad infinitum. This time it will be “covids” on steroids.

Heedless people — and there are plenty of them around the world — need heedful governments, especially in protecting wildlife. If primates and pangolins can write, they will put prose and poetry to work in Letters to Editors. It will be a verse-by-verse onslaught on what’s worst in humans. Before that happens, China and others of similar wild animal meat persuasion must put an end to its sale.

Covid-19 began in a wildlife meat market in Wuhan, China, and it is there it must end permanently.

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