The UAE has been taking a lead in the Arab world and reaching out to nations.
The number of Covid-19 infections in Syria, at 5, might lull us into believing that the people in Syria are perhaps okay and the virus that is ravaging the world has shown some mercy on the country that has been reduced to a shadow of its former self due to the ongoing conflict. That, of course, is not true. Lack of good health facilities, equipment, ability to detect viral infections could be reasons behind this shockingly low numbers.
It is in stark contrast with the many countries in the neighbourhood that have already reported cases in thousands. Syria is at a critical juncture and would need help to deal with the spread of coronavirus. Millions are at a risk of getting infected. The impact could be more pronounced in northwestern region, which is still embroiled in conflict, and has displaced over 900,000 in the region. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says there are over six million internally displaced people throughout Syria. Only half of public hospitals and public primary healthcare centres were fully functional at the end of 2019. This could make Syria a breeding ground for infections.
The UAE leadership understands the precarious situation that Syrian people might be in, and has offered to help. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has said in a call to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad that the two countries need to “place humanitarian solidarity over political issues during this common challenge”. Syria, he said, will not be left to fend for itself during these delicate and critical circumstances. Such a gesture goes on to show the compassionate leadership we have in the UAE.
Lockdown and sealing of international borders might make one believe that countries are trying to deal with the spread of Covid-19 on their own. Balkanisation, some might argue, is seeing a revival of sorts and solidarity is being limited to messages and prayers. But the fact is, the world needs to come together to respond to this health crisis that is disrupting life as we know it. There is an urgent need to build new alliances (albeit virtually) and think of ways to contain the spread. There is a need to share resources, and findings as the hunt for a vaccine continues.
The UAE has been taking a lead in the Arab world and reaching out to nations. Regionally, it recently helped Croatia by sending 11.5 tonnes of medical equipment, which includes masks, to tackle Covid-19. Sheikh Mohamed also called Indonesian leader to discuss ways to cooperate and tackle the pandemic. There is a need for greater solidarity among nations, and the UAE is showing the way. No one should be left behind. The crisis is giving us a new opportunity to forge new alliances, pacts, and build a new world that is driven by compassion.
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