Finally, coronavirus was considered worthy of debate in the National Assembly (NA). However, the yesterday session was nothing short of a jungle of cheap shots by the members of different political parties against their opponents over the handling of the virus. It was saddening to watch the members who, on the one hand, were calling for unity. On the other hand, they could not resist the temptation of landing some back-handed blows.

Given the fact that the World Health Organisation has already declared the spread of coronavirus pandemic, political parties on both sides of the floor need to show real maturity. The fierce urgency of now demands from the political parties to show actual “unity in the time of coronavirus.”

Besides, the spread of the virus is nothing short of an impending crisis. Therefore, political parties should not waste their energies on political point-scoring. The possibility of uncontrollable spread of the virus is too real, which is why political parties must come together to formulate a joint strategy on containing the spread of it. No moment other than the present can be more inappropriate for securing narrow political objectives.

Thankfully, the government called for a special meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) yesterday to chalk out a policy regarding coronavirus. It would not have cost the government had it also included opposition parties in such a meeting. Anyways, this reflects our dominant political culture.

Nevertheless, the government must consider Singapore as a case study. So far, Singapore has emerged as the best example of how to respond. Epidemiologists think that an explosion of illness thus requiring more people to be hospitalised than it can handle can overwhelm the health care system. Action on the part of the government is needed to alleviate the fears of the specialists. And the most crucial step will be to take all stakeholders on board.