Sunday, April 20, 2003

SARs has produced the first "fugutive" when suspected patient jumped quarantine in Jakarta and flew to Hong Kong! The man - a Briton Chinese - was ordered to be quarantined at home but the authorities said that the man had been very uncooperative.

It is little surprise to read today that the man actually sneaked out from Jakarta to fly to Hong Kong. The immigration on both sides were not able to intercept the man in time. But reports say that he has been traced in Hong Kong and will undergo reexamination again to determine if he is really infected with the virus.

Quarantine is like a prison sentence and causes a lot of hardship to suspected SARS victims. But people in this region has to realise the utter severity of the problem at hand. The situation now is almost akin to war. Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday that SARS could be the worst crisis Singapore has ever faced. For people under quarantine, they should count themselves lucky that they at least do not have to suffer what the Iraqis are suffering now: homes destroyed, families and relatives killed and a country in chaos. We are so accustomed to peace that any slight disruption to our daily lives is met with utter annoyance. Ours is a generation who have not experienced war on our own soil and are ignorant of the fact that history is filled with such social disruptions.

So far, the SARS outbreak has caused relatively minor disruptions compared to what one would experience in war. And yet we are not exhibiting enough spirit to weather through it. We have to start learning how to do so. The human race has pulled through worst before. No reason why we can't do it.

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