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Close the door to coronavirus

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It’s hard to fathom the complete abnormality of what Cyprus with the rest of the world is going through as the novel coronavirus sinks its teeth into our way of life – killing it in more ways than one.

The government quickly moved to close schools, pubs and bars and other indoor arenas like gyms and cinemas as the fear of how this contagion could rip through our health system came crashing home.

Ironically, the island’s first Covid-19 case was a heart surgeon at the biggest hospital in Cyprus, since then many other doctors and nurses have contracted the fatal illness prompting Paphos and Limassol general to shut down.

We not only have a health emergency on our hands but the places best equipped to fight this battle have already been taken out of action, not to mention the medical staff needed on the frontline.

Only time will judge whether our health system is robust and ready enough to handle the pressure of an epidemic on our doorstep.

Richer countries than Cyprus are finding it hard to cope with the sheer scale of coronavirus destruction spread across their population.

We are only at the start of our nightmare journey into the unknown, with the authorities hoping that social distancing, appealing to people to stay at home will blunt the potency of this virus.

Countries that have been more effective in containing the worst of coronavirus suggest that mass testing is the way to keep a grip on the pandemic.

But countries like South Korea and Singapore that have been successful in their methods to restrain the virus have experienced a second wave from those returning who are bringing the virus back with them.

With no likelihood of a vaccine for at least 18 months, the authorities will need to reintroduce the same draconian measures when the next winter comes.

Hopefully, by then there will be more effective drugs to curb the disease and suppress its effectiveness.

What we must all pray for is that Cyprus can keep a lid on the deadly coronavirus by not walking in the same shoes as Italy which has now overtaken China in the number of registered deaths.

Tougher restrictions on people movement don’t seem to be doing the job as Italy’s health system is overwhelmed with stricken patients.

Cyprus is banking on Cypriots taking the health emergency seriously. Staying at home alone is the equivalent of voluntary self-imprisonment but it saves lives.

Whether the economy can withstand this inactivity for a prolonged period is questionable, avoiding a recession seems unlikely as the world economy is in free-fall.

Then there’s our sanity, working from home and isolating oneself from society will have a psychological impact.

Not knowing when it will be safe to go out adds another layer of anxiety to an already tense and unprecedented situation where the invisible enemy is within touching distance.

This outbreak will scar everyone who has lived through this agony of trying to cheat death by washing hands constantly and trying not to touch your face.

But for those in the future, not knowing what came to pass, a quick look in the history books will show a huge spike in the divorce rate from couples who had to spend more than five minutes with each other in the same house.

Add a few bored children into the mix for weeks on end and the environment becomes extremely volatile.

For now, we must stay apart so that we can come together as a society in good health to enjoy with our parents and grandparents.

It is hard not to panic or feel selfish in protecting our own but we need to stay home, not panic buy at the supermarkets and make sure nobody feels alone even if we can’t be with them.

Society demands we survive this with the fewest casualties possible.