All must help each other

All must help each other

The coronavirus outbreak has shown us many things, above all how connected we are.

Social distancing is the norm to slow down the spread. But that does not mean we can't be there in spirit for people in need and those who are vulnerable to catching the disease.

The Covid-19 outbreak is pervasive, reaching far and wide as it is carried from one patient or carrier to many others who come into close contact with them. Decisive and comprehensive action from the government will help curb the spread.

Eventually, however, it's community spirit, the very connectedness if not physically then emotionally that human beings have towards one another, that will help us survive this together.

This is no feel-good, idealistic proposal. Community support is a necessary and practical means to curb the contagion.

The infection is carried by individuals. No government policies and mechanisms, however stringent, would be able to penetrate down to that level.

Practically, it's down to each and every one of us to watch out in case of suspected infections. We are also responsible for one another as we observe social distancing.

When it comes to self-isolation, support from friends and family or people in the neighbourhood can go a long way to make it effective.

Reports about neighbours hanging food on the doors of those who declared themselves under quarantine have regularly appeared on social media.

There are also people who would share their face masks with those who can't find or afford them.

IT start-ups came up with applications to help track infections or find where face masks remain available.

Sincere and generous offers that have poured in for public health personnel, many of whom have been working non-stop to contain the disease, have been heart-warming.

Many businesses and groups of people band together remotely as they make face masks or put together plastic face shields to give away to hospitals or people in need.

The shutdown of malls and markets by City Hall, which turned some 2-3 million people jobless overnight, has triggered an outpouring of empathy.

Online personalities who enjoy a large number of followers offer their space for vendors to sell their wares for free.

But most important of all, is the need to reach out to the poor and vulnerable.

Covid-19 may be easier to deal with for those who can afford the space and hospital bills, but it has also made it clear that no single person will be spared if those around them are infected.

While attempts have been made at individual level to help the have-nots survive the contagion, mostly in the form of free food, more help will be needed.

As public hospitals are reaching their limit in capacity, private ones could help. Thammasat University Hospital, for example, has agreed to set up a field facility to take in recovering Covid-19 patients to lessen the burden on other hospitals.

More people are expected to have to go into isolation so rooms and spaces will become necessary.

A few hotels have offered to shelter health personnel or people who need to isolate themselves. But how about those who can't afford the rent?

The coronavirus has shown that no-one can survive this alone. We can't afford to leave the vulnerable behind. Commendable attempts have been made, but more are needed.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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