Ladies and gentlemen, we are faced with a wide-spreading coronavirus that is going to need all hands on deck to deal with. Until recently, a lot of South Africans took the virus lightly but the fact that even President Cyril Ramaphosa declared national disaster to combat this virus is further proof of just how real a problem we have in our hands.
The number of confirmed cases has spiraled in the last week or so, from a mere seven to 61 confirmed cases, at the time of going to print, and that’s no child’s play. Coronavirus will not necessarily kill you but ignorance will certainly do. We need to spread the message to reach even the most rural and the downtrodden, who will be at the highest risk of contracting this impactful virus. Like any virus, one of the number of ways to deal with it will be hygiene although it is always easier said than done. Hygiene goes far beyond just washing your hands, as this has been largely communicated. For people to wash their hands, they need clean running water and soap. Thousands of our informal settlement-dwellers, for instance, don’t have enough resources to deal with this pandemic and will need serious interventions to mitigate the impact of this virus.
It will take one positive case to infect the whole community, which is why I’m of the belief that this virus is going to be a true test of our leadership, our understanding of Ubuntu and the sense of responsibility. Those who have resources will have to share with the have-nots as it makes little sense to think you’re safe from this pandemic just because you’re fully equipped when the next person can easily infect you. Decisive leadership will also be needed so that enough information is disseminated to the people and the correct information at that, not what has been flooding social media, so as to avoid unnecessary panic. With all football matches having been called off until further notice, I know there are annual Easter tournaments that have been lined up and it would be wise to put a stop on those as well, until further notice.
The virus couldn’t have made its way at a worst time because there are so many pre-planned events for the Easter weekend but common sense will have to prevail. Unless anything changes, we have to put a hold on all social gatherings that would see more than 100 people, as clearly articulated by the president in his national address on Sunday night. It is not ideal but a necessary precautionary measure. We have to do everything we can to minimise the risk of this virus doing the rounds because it does have a potential to reach catastrophic proportions. People’s lives are more important than anything else and it would be foolish to ignore the instructions because of selfish interest.
As football people, life hasn’t been the same since the ban on all football activities because there’s just not much else that interests us. However, we’d rather be bored than try to force matters because there’s so much at stake. We have to pull together to ensure that we win this battle and I believe it is possible. With a united effort from everyone, all parties playing their part, we can definitely win the battle against this virus sooner than we thought. The sooner we get this over and done with, the better so that we can get things back to normal. We were dealt a serious anti-climax with this virus as both the Nedbank Cup and league title race were taking shape. Mamelodi Sundowns having narrowed the gap to four points between them and Kaizer Chiefs, while the former would’ve played Orlando Pirates on Tuesday night, a win for the Chloorkop-based side would see just a point separating them from Chiefs. Amakhosi would be hosting Bidvest Wits tonight. Can you imagine the tension and pressure that would be out there? Coronavirus has really deprived us of good times.
A number of people have been asking about the possible consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on the league season. Will the season be suspended indefinitely? Will the season be regarded as null and void? Will the log leaders be awarded the trophy and declared league champions, with eight games still to play? Will there be no relegation or promotion for the 2019/2020 season? Honestly, no one has an answer for any of these questions because there’s so much more to be taken into consideration before any sort of a decision can be taken. No one could’ve written this script and therefore even the League can’t just decide without proper consultation. Can you imagine how it would be for Ajax Cape Town if it was decided that there’d be no relegation or promotion for the season after they’ve worked so hard to put themselves in a favourable position to make their long-awaited return to the elite league? While it would be music to Black Leopards’ ears, as things stand with them at the bottom of the table, it would be devastating for the Ikamva-based outfit who have pulled out all stops to ensure they finally return to the Absa Premiership.
For our league to resume, we have to see coronavirus off and that’s doable. Together, we can get things back to normal. Let’s do this, South Africa!