While general elections 2020 is now firmly behind us, the Prime Minister and his Health Officials at Saturday’s media conference made it clear that COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our life and livelihood going forward. Mercifully, despite the nauseatingly divisive and acrimonious election campaign which saw some of the most hateful and racist tirades on social media, the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths has refocused the population on the true common enemy. One which does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, gender or other social construct by which we separate and segregate each other. Perhaps, that’s the silver lining in this very dark COVID cloud.
Of course, the Prime Minister’s announcements to reinstate several of the COVID-19 restrictions, including the closing of cinemas, dine-in restaurants and bars was largely unsurprising, nor its timing coming after the poll, given the recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases, now hovering in the vicinity of half a century. More worryingly though, are the further exponential increases in the number of cases being predicted by Health Officials, which are largely suspected to arise out of the election campaign and general lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Naturally, you may be asking yourself why more care wasn’t taken by the political parties and their candidates during the campaign to prevent the spread of the disease in the first place? Maybe they felt the risk of losing the elections was too high or perhaps more cheekily they just believed that the “sunlight will kill COVID-19” while on the campaign trail. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the political parties and their candidates did not do enough to prevent the spread, at times even flouting the rules themselves, with the TTPS having to step in and enforce the COVID-19 Regulations.
Evidently, the Government has to also shoulder some of the blame, for its seemingly lax approach to treating with COVID-19 during the campaign, which may have well contributed to the ongoing spike. For instance, it hasn’t escape me that the Minister of Health has only now decided that the 10 persons allowed to gather will be ABSOLUTE, despite being relative during the entire election campaign, effectively allowing parties and their candidates to do public meetings and walk-about with several groups of 10’s, so long as physically distancing was practiced between and among the groups.
Nevertheless, one can only hope that based on the Prime Minister’s pronouncement, that even if the campaign might have contributed to the spike, it’s now behind us, that “The Party Done!” and the work has begun.