The coronavirus outbreak is real. Peer reviewed scientific studies attest to this reality.
The novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) discovered in China has resulted in varying death rates among patients of different age groups, with the elderly and those with chronic illnesses—including hypertension, diabetes and asthma—most likely to succumb to the virus.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the pandemic has claimed over 469 000lives from over 9.3 million confirmed cases globally.
Locally, it has killed 11 from the country’s 941 detected cases, including 260 recoveries.
Sadly, in Malawi the pandemic has been buried in politics, thanks to the fresh presidential election held last week.
Any opinion uttered is judged based on its political correctness or lack of it.
This article, however, is not aimed at the disease and its politics, but rather the opportunities the country stands to miss due to the spiking pandemic and ongoing economic meltdown.
Pushing aside our beliefs and opinions about the fast-spreading Covid-19 outbreak, the virus has changed the entire world, how we live and how we do business.
The onus is on us to adapt or lag behind.
The world has entered a new era in which information and now information and communication technology (ICT) knowledge is the line that splits the literate from the illiterate.
The country must embrace ICT and realign our priorities so that we can thrive in this new world where face-to-face interaction has given way to social distancing.
Regarding education, adoption of virtual teaching methods by several institutions of higher learning in the developinh countries is a leaf we can borrow and attempt to make strides in that direction.
Malawi leadership must provide extra support for universities and colleges to adopt the new normal of transferring knowledge.
Likewise, higher learning institutions have a responsibility to realign their priorities and re-adjust their methods to suit the current environment.
We must seriously incorporate ICT in primary school curricula so that even dropouts acquire ICT literacy they require to competently do business in this global digital economy.
The business community, especially small-scale enterprises, ought to gracefully accept the new order as well.
Elsewhere, it is the new normal to buy and sell products and services online.
We can promote the same model through reliable platforms like EazyAds and several others that were local solutions for small-scale businesses.
Take note that not all businesses can operate like that, but the fact is that Internet is the business platform for the new world and businesses can no longer rely on consumers to come and physically do window shopping as mobility is highly restricted to stop coronavirus transmission.
In terms of adherence to Covid-19 preventive measures recommended by the Ministry of Health, Malawi has a sad story to tell.
Political correctness aside, we are all blameworthy when it comes to adhering to precautions. Evidently, for whatever cause, we have not been exemplar of best practices in this regard.
Our failure to contain the pandemic has been concealed by the low mortality rates. Had we been hit by a pandemic with a higher death rate, we would have perished.
Clearly, Malawi has a lot to learn in the Covid-19 era as the global economy is experiencing a paradigm shift.
Teaching and learning is fast transitioning from physical to virtual methods just as buying and selling is migrating from hard cash to electronic platforms.
Although Covid-19 has brought more misery than pride, we still stand a chance to accelerate our pace and readjust to the norms of the new world.
We cannot continue to resist change, saying that is how we have been doing things for decades.
Time has changed, so we must adapt or perish.