The handling of the current Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has tended to be distracted by conspiracy theories. Or deliberately peddled insinuations that China deliberately started off the virus and then “allowed” it to spread to the West.
And subsequently to the rest of the world. Such allegations however deviate from the main issue at hand – on how to bring the disease under control all over the world. And then draw lessons to enable humanity avoid or better handle a similar outbreak in future, suggests *Kimeng Hilton NDUKONG in this opinion piece.
The concern of everyone now is how to effectively break the chain of transmission, provide medication to the afflicted, protect medical personnel treating them. Hasten research on finding a vaccine and seeking local cures or treatments for the disease. With the goal being to checkmate the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, stop the rising numbers of deaths, end the untold hardship foisted on humanity by the viral disease…
There is no gainsaying that COVID-19 has thus far proven to be a rather tall order for health professionals and medical scientists. As they still battle to understand it. “COVID-19 is real and is a new kid on the block, never before experienced in human medicine,” warns Prof. Fru Asanji Fobuzshi Angwafo III, a urologist and Director General of the Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital in Yaounde, Cameroon. This explains the challenges so far experienced in bringing the pandemic under control in most parts of the world. Even in nations with reputable medical facilities and top-notch personnel!
Some Western politicians and media – especially American – have of late stepped up their blame campaign, attributing the woes of the new Coronavirus to China. In summary, China is accused of “starting” the virus, concealing information on the gravity of the situation and responding inadequately to COVID-19. Thereby “aiding” and “abetting” its spread to the rest of the world – beginning in the West.
Reason why, according to the accusers, the Coronavirus pandemic has today left a trail of destruction across the globe with huge human and economic cost. So disturbing are the allegations that the official Chinese Xinhua News Agency on May 9, 2020, responded. In 24 points backed with abundant evidence, Xinhua, using a reality crosscheck of the most peddled accusations, debunked them one after the other.
“China should forget and forgive all the gratuitous insinuations apportioned against her for allegedly masterminding the Coronavirus pandemic,” says Dr Peter Sakwe Masumbe, a lecturer in Public Policy, International Relations and Conflict Studies with the University of Buea, Cameroon. He is also a Senior Public Policy Analyst in the Prime Minister’s Office in Cameroon.
According to him, the main concern of African and other nations now should be stopping the spread of the virus and saving humanity. “An African proverb says that the person whose house is on fire does not bother about the source of the inferno. Instead of standing back and lamenting endlessly, his main concern is to use the most appropriate means available to put off the blaze,” Masumbe points out.
“These accusations are tantamount to putting the cart before the horse, crying over spilled milk, shifting the bulk and apportioning blame while the problem is left unattended to or poorly handled,” Sakwe underscores. Adding that “China is the nation to look up to if Africa really wants to develop. I mean real development, not modernisation. African countries are immersed in modernising without developing their societies.”
The West’s determined attempt to lay all the blame for the woes of Coronavirus at the doorsteps of China is simply an unwanted distraction. At this crucial moment. This is only comparable to a confused undergraduate university student “majoring in the minor!” Instead of “majoring in the major” (forgive the repetition). Such behavior can also be likened to failing to concentrate on the essential. When it matters most.
*Kimeng Hilton NDUKONG, a journalist based in Yaounde, Cameroon, is a contributor to People’s Daily English Language Online Desk. He is a 2017 Fellow of the China-Africa Press Centre.