The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

The “Economic Side “Of The Coronavirus: Are We Taking Note Or Being Proactive?

By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)

I always told my students in mass communication that there is always an economic side of certain news events. I am aware that in most cases, the reporters would rightly follow the high news angle or the most interesting aspect of the situation.

Most stories always have what is known as the “Main Bar” and the “Side Bar.” The main bar focuses on the high news value or most important aspects, while the side bar looks at other aspects which could be of human interest or an interesting piece for readers.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 162 countries and territories around the world and one international conveyance (the Diamond Princess Cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan). The day is reset after midnight GMT+0.

The “New” columns for China displayed the previous day changes (as China reports after the day is over). For all other countries, the “New” columns displayed the changes for the current day while still in progress.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

While it is true that such a pandemic is not welcomed, there are other factors associated with it. One of such is the economic side, which relates to income losses or consumption.

Sometimes it brings about more income in a certain industry or losses because of high demand or decline of a particular commodity. Equally, at times, what people foreseeably expect to happen in the future, can also lead to hoarding of commodities.

For example in the present global crisis of the deadly coronavirus, which is claiming the lives of hundreds of people worldwide, the major focus is on the number of deaths in many countries. The focus on deaths is in keeping with a basic principle in news reporting.

It is said that in such a situation involving death and others, the death would always come first. Notwithstanding, it has enormous economic side as a result of the outbreak, as it has affected many industries, including travelling, export, import, just to name a few, thereby affecting the income of those counties, businesses or industries.

Another important example is the issue of lockdown by some countries. This is where the economic activities of these countries are seriously affected. In some countries certain businesses, including bars, restaurants, as well as entertainment centers have been closed. Similarly, some countries have closed down schools for certain period-all geared towards avoiding the spreading of the virus.

Frankly, as a result of measures being taken by some countries where basic consumable products such as rice and gasoline are exported, this would greatly affect the supply of those commodities to countries, including Liberia that import them, thus leading to shortage. In this country where we rely on imported rice and petroleum products, these ongoing measures would unquestionably have adverse effects on our local market.

It is in view of this I have decided to do this piece so that our authorities would be proactive on the issue of these commodities. Already, vehicles are queuing at various filling stations because people expect a shortage of the commodities in the wake that ships may not come in as usual because of measures instituted to avoid the spread of the virus.

It is necessary that the government takes note of this emerging situation because there is a general tendency on the part of some of our people to exploit this kind of situation.

Unarguably, these are some of the situations that people use for profit maximization.

Therefore, it is imperative that the government proactively act to protect the consumers in the wake of the expected consequence.

I Rest My Case

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