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Opinion & Analysis

Read the good news too

By Robert Vasquez

There is good news out there that our news media is getting out. Reading it will uplift our spirits. Good news is important news. Of course, there is bad, if there wasn’t, we would not be in lockdown, suffering the isolation, other emotions and effects that this, and the pandemic inevitably bring, but rightly space and time is being dedicated to good news with some prominence.

For example, without lockdown the bad news would be worse. There is evidence, that is being reported, to show that lockdown is flattening the infection curve. There is the reality that a vast majority of people are keeping to the rules, but please don’t break the lockdown rules as time goes by.

There are figures published indicating the recovery of many that have been infected. There are also figures indicating the slowing down of infection rates, due to measures taken by governments in Gibraltar and around the world.

There is the huge effort and selflessness of doctors, nurses, other support medical staff, pharmacists and all health-related staff.

There is more, there are the police and other security and emergency services and those supplying all essential services: we need them to ensure peace, order and a proper functioning of society within the rules that difficult times bring with them. Please help them!

There are those keeping our supermarkets, food stores and other essential businesses open and stocked up, not forgetting the transport chain inside and outside Gibraltar that is essential to ensure supplies.

There are the teachers that are looking after educating the young and allowing all who have to work to go to their employment to keep essential running.

There are hundreds of volunteers and voluntary organisations, who are helping in many fields, not least, assisting those who are less fortunate and need more help during isolation. It is difficult to pinpoint all but, for example, those helping the elderly, the lonely, the homeless and the mentally ill.

There are others too that may not be mentioned but are not left out on purpose, they are to be thanked too.
All this good is celebrated publicly and enthusiastically with huge thanks, with the clapping and ships hooting every evening at 8:00 pm, bringing some joy to all.

There are the many who continue working, be it at home or at their workspaces. They keep things moving. They keep the economy ticking. It is an economy that will need substantial impetus when all this is over. The Government has shown foresight in recognising the stimulus our economy will need. It has established the post-Covid-19 task force to plan for future recovery. Again, positive news.

There is a noticeable big reduction in air pollution, due to less traffic and other emissions. The likely result of this, over time, is that early deaths from lung and heart conditions will fall.

There is the huge effort that our Government, with cooperation from the Opposition, is making to confront this pandemic. It is undoubtedly difficult to take many of the decisions that those in charge are having to decide on.

They are there taking them for the benefit of all of us. In time this may raise issues about ongoing democracy that will need attention, but there is time to debate that, once we see this crisis through.

There is the success that the Government is achieving in ensuring that there are more medical facilities and hospital beds available to look after anyone who may get ill. Let us hope and pray that these will not be needed, but they are there because huge effort has been made by the Government, the public service and by volunteers. Government measures also cover wider areas, for example, employment and much more.

The Government has also now announced that after all is over, they will establish a public inquiry to look into what was done right and what was done wrong. It is not so much what was done ‘wrong’ that will need to be determined, ‘wrong’ is not what will have been done.

‘Wrong’ needs an intention, whilst what is being done is being done with the best of intentions and ends. What such an inquiry might want to look into is to see what we have learnt and what might have been done better and will be done better in similar circumstances in the future, applying the hindsight that is not yet available.

Let us all look and talk about the positives that are being reported in the news, whilst at the same time not losing sight of the dangers of the pandemic or the deep distress, sadness and emotional toll that it is bringing and will bring to many.

Let us all concentrate on positives, without ignoring the difficult realities that do surround us, but keep safe in the meantime.