BY THOMAS C MOUNTAIN
There are only a couple of countries in the world that have completely prevented COVID-19 from infecting their people and I live in one of them, thank God.
We don’t wear masks and our hospitals function normally. We are not afraid to meet anyone, to go anywhere and any cough we develop is no cause for alarm.
When COVID-19 first began to sweep the planet back in March 2020, our leaders closed our borders and shut down the airlines arriving here. All passengers and land arrivals after March 20 went directly to a 14-day quarantine, isolation.
All those who arrived in the days before the lockdown were taken to quarantine and tested as well as those in their immediate family and friends they had been in contact with.
Only one domestic transmission has taken place, that being in early April, a husband returning from the border who infected his wife. Over four hundred have tested positive while in quarantine but no one inside the country ever tested positive since, and over 40,000 tests have been done.
As the second wave of COVID-19 begins to sweep through those countries that opened their bars, restaurants, and cafes, we remain under a modified lockdown. All hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops remain closed but pretty much everything else is open.
Vehicle traffic is almost shut down, with no public transport or taxi’s and no non-permitted private vehicles are allowed. Even permitted vehicles must be off the streets by 8 pm.
For some, this has been a real hardship and hunger has shown its face here. The number of people begging on the streets has become apparent. Life is hard under lockdown, make no mistake. We all hope that more aid for the hungry is made available by the government.
Many millions of dollars have been donated by our fellow countrymen and women in the diaspora to help purchase state of the art testing equipment that is now available everywhere.
No one here is afraid for COVID-19 was contained at our borders even though over 20,000 of our people have returned home. We may be riding our bicycles, if we are lucky, walking if not, but nobody seems to really mind. The air is certainly cleaner and our neighborhoods are quieter, thanks to our cars being parked in our driveways for the past 7 months.
The president of our country said it best early on in this pandemic. “We don’t know where this came from and we don’t know where it is going…, so all we can do is hunker down and wait it out.”
Those countries, especially the rich, western ones, couldn’t seem to do this, their people just don’t seem to know how to bite the bullet for whatever time it takes and now they are getting hammered worse than before. Thank God we have a government here that cares for its people’s wellbeing first and foremost, and to hell with the economic consequences.
What comes first, the almighty dollar (or euro?) or the life of your people?
Personally, I think how so many societies have begun to crack, if not break, yet, under COVID-19, foretells calamities to come when climate disaster begins to seriously affect the planet. If governments and social systems based on private accumulation over the peoples needs to predominate, as seen by the reaction to COVID-19, major environmental disasters will turn into calamities, for how can leaders confined by an ideology of greed and avarice do what is really best for their people rather than the super-wealthy?
p.s. You may wonder what the two countries I mentioned are that have had no COVID-19 domestic transmissions? Good luck finding out from the MSM. Maybe this will help.
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Thomas C. Mountain is a historian and educator who has been living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. Reach him at thomascmountain at g mail dot com.