As a frequent flyer who just got back to Hong Kong on February 28, after an extended business trip in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, I am horrified at the scenes I am seeing at airports, especially the U.S.
Watching the crowds of airline passengers in the thousands around the world, packed like sardines in airport arrival terminals, especially the condom-looking- plastic-hooded and plastic-clad students from Europe returning to Hong Kong, is not only ridiculous looking, but unprecedented and very worrisome!
What happened to the “Social Distancing” mantra?
The fact that social distancing is nowhere to be seen in any of the jam-packed arrival terminals, makes one wonder what is the point of a lockdown that is costing the economy trillions of dollars? If the thousands of people rushing to beat the quarantine deadline are stuck for hours in a jam-packed airport breathing each others germs, doesn’t that defeat the whole point of a lockdown and quarantine? It certainly justifies putting these returning travelers in quarantine once they leave the airport. Chances are, passengers who didn’t have the coronavirus, picked it up in the arrival lounge at the airport of their destination.
There is definitely something wrong with this picture.
With the incubation period taking several days, many of these returning passengers will find out they have the coronavirus during quarantine, the only question then being where they picked it up. The country they left, the airplane or the airport?
Panic generated by today’s social media, has not only increased the chances of these poor returning souls getting the coronavirus, but has depleted their bank accounts because of the sky-high prices of air fares.
People are right to be concerned, but are panicing for the wrong reasons. It’s not their fault. Hoarding toilet paper and disinfectants won’t make any difference in people getting the virus. Only their lifestyle if they run out of either while under quarantine or lockdown. But most people doing the panic buying aren’t even under quarantine or lockdown.
Chances are most people won’t get the coronavirus, most of those that do will recover, and the low percentage that won’t, wouldn’t anyway as there is no vaccine to protect anyone against COVID-19.
The panic was created by governments. Elected and authoritarian alike. Governments that were slow to recognize, react and acknowledge the urgency of the situation. Being ill-prepared and then going into panic-lockdown mode to make up for their mistakes and shortfalls that has freaked out the public — and created an economic meltdown that has welcomed a recession.
A fact the public must remember when the pandemic and panic are over and people cast their ballot for new leaders.