Amid coronavirus alarm, politicians defy health experts’ warnings

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to get worse before it gets better, a global health expert warned, stressing the best way individuals can limit the spread is to strictly observe social distancing – the practice of avoiding close contact with other people.

Swee Kheng Khor, a doctor who studies global health policies at the University of Oxford, made the assessment even as some of the world’s political leaders continue to defy his advice while imposing the same restrictions in their countries.

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to get worse before it gets better, a global health expert warned, stressing the best way individuals can limit the spread is to strictly observe social distancing – the practice of avoiding close contact with other people.

Swee Kheng Khor, a doctor who studies global health policies at the University of Oxford, made the assessment even as some of the world’s political leaders continue to defy his advice while imposing the same restrictions in their countries.

As part of the health guidelines on social distancing, mass gatherings – from rallies and concerts to religious events – are to be avoided, and individuals are advised to maintain at least one metre (three feet) distance from others.

But even if the science behind social distancing is strong, governments “find it difficult to impose” the practice, because it goes against the “instinct of humans” and it carries with it political and economic costs, noted Dr Khor, who is also a senior fellow on health policies at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

Handshakes and selfies
The disease, which originated in China, has continued to spread around the world, with infections confirmed in at least 165 countries. As of Thursday, the death toll is nearing 9,000, while infections were about 220,000. Some 84,000 victims have recovered, mostly in China.

The health emergency has left many political leaders grappling for the most effective response, while others remain dismissive of the global threat.

 

Related Articles

Back to top button