– With COVID-19 dominating the news headlines worldwide, global thinkers, celebrities and statesmen offer their prognosis and chart the course of action.
– Actor and Activist Priyanka Chopra, Futurist Dr. Michio Kaku, former President of Colombia H.E. Juan Santos and other leading voices have spoken about the measures to tackle Coronavirus at the 9th International Government Communications Forum in Sharjah, UAE.
– Headlining the Forum, Actor and Activist Priyanka Chopra Jones spoke passionately about the role of the entertainment industry to promote diversity and cultural awareness and also addressed the issues of social responsibility and toxicity of social media.
Sharjah, UAE – Health checks at airports, deep cleans of public spaces – containment measures have kicked into gear around the world, but will they help to stop the spread of the coronavirus?
While many international events have been cancelled, 64 global thinkers, celebrities and statesmen gathered in Sharjah, UAE to discuss effective government communications as they chart the course of action to tackle the virus.
Former President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos drew on his experience of containing chikungunya virus and El Niño weather events:
“My recommendation to any government is don’t underestimate the problem, never try to hide the truth, don’t manipulate the health officials and experts, allow as much information as possible. What I hope is that something that we are experiencing open our eyes to the world to appreciate the importance of international cooperation.”
Physicist Michio Kaku aims to understand the future of humanity based on his grand “theory of everything”. He’s spoken about the future of AI and the new tech enabling telepathic communications.
Talking about the future development of the virus, he found it hard to asses the scale of what’s to come:
Futurist Michio Kaku: “I think right now you have to be a little bit pessimistic because it hasn’t peaked yet. But look at the flu virus. At one point, the flu virus is also quite, quite dangerous. But over time, it begins to lose some of its lethality. So let’s hope that we’re entering that phase in the coming months. But it’s impossible to say right now.”
Actress, producer and activist Priyanka Chopra Jones was one of the headliners at the event to talk about the power of entertainment industry to change narratives.
She said influencers are as vulnerable to the virus and said all communications are best left to the governments:
“No, I don’t think we have a role to play in educating people about the Coronavirus, because I think we’re just as vulnerable to it as anyone else. And we have as much information or lack of information thereof as everybody else. I just I would implore everyone to, you know, to wash your hands and just educate yourself as much as we know. And I would also implore the governments to give us a lot more information as they find out. “
Irina Bokova, former Director General of UNESCO and a recent candidate for the UN’s top job talked about the dangers of a possible pandemic in an increasingly nationalist world:
“Governments prefer to deal with bilateral issues, multilateralism is under threat, but I don’t see any other possibility of solving global issues that do not know geographical and geopolitical borders. Coronavirus is definitely one of those issues that testify to the fact that these problems will not stop at the border and are not confined in one single country.”
Coronavirus cases have grown in the Middle East in the past week, crossing a threshold of 3000 infections with more than 90 deaths.
Over the past few days a decision had been taken to have schools and universities to be closed for a period of four weeks starting from Sunday, March 8.
The UAE has also been helping Iran, facilitating a WHO mission to deliver medical supplies and equipment.