The hot topic of these weeks is the Coronavirus that started in some areas of China and spread to some countries in the world, including Europe.
Apart from usual hygienic measures that should have always been common among all of us – and not only in this period – such as washing hands frequently and properly as well as avoid coughing/sneezing without protection, what I noted is the lack of coordination in the EU about how to deal with this issue.
Some airports checked arriving passengers with termographic cameras, some others didn’t; some countries tested people with suspicious infections without temperature, some others only those with temperature; some countries banned travellers coming from a few identified areas from entering their territory, some others just reinforced border controls, etc. On top of it, some media provided reliable information on this issue whereas some others made all this a show that exaggerated negative side effects to increase audience. The worst occurred on Internet social media where everyone feels the right of self-naming expert in many disciplines fostering fake news, silly suggestions, irrational frightening advice.
All this generated a few important consequences: stock exchanges lost a lot of value in a few days; business activities lost orders and/or clients; public transport lost passengers, hotels and restaurants lost clients. The only objective benefit was pollution reduction as people travelled less and factories reduced/suspended their production.
A few hours ago, while listening to an economic news program, the analyst reported a good news coming from China: pollution has increased and this would show that the situation over there seems recovering. That’s curious: what usually we are meant to fight and celebrate when it diminishes, in certain circumstances we welcome its increase. Human beings are strange creatures!
Obviously, this editorial doesn’t intend to solve anything, but just thinking about facts. Certainly, more coordination at European level (at least) on managing these kinds of events would help citizens have a clearer picture of the situation, what to do, how to behave, how to travel, in order to reduce chances of confusion, hysteria, unjustified fears, which in the end affects the overall economic growth.
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO