Saturday, March 14, 2020

Best and worst case

Best case scenario: There's only one infected person in the country and he was spotted on entry and immediately banged up in Villa Nueva. From now on all the dirty foreigners are to be kept out and Guatemala will remain safe from contagion. Don't fret about those porous borders, we've got the airport totally sorted. 

Worst case scenario: There are already loads of undetected infected people around the country. The virus entered via the (porous) land borders, migrants and narcos in transit, via cruise liners and container ship crew members carousing around the bars and brothels of our ports, and has spread surreptitiously through the hinterlands. The decision to keep out the gringos was taken just a bit too late. 

Not even Giammattei really knows where we are in the grey area between these two scenarios. So when he tells people to go out to the cinema or take a trip to the beach just as they usually would, he's deliberately making light of the uncertainty that will cloud this situation for a few more weeks at least. 

Controlling the religious activities was always going to require more moral courage than anyone here actually has, but at the very least the President might have suggested in his news conference that everyone should exercise discretion and caution for the time being regarding sporting events, cinemas, crowded beaches and so on. 

The virus first emerged in the region that was best placed to handle it politically. Now the epicentre has shifted to the region perhaps best placed to handle it socially. 

If there is a significant next stage, it will occur in the region that won't be able to deal with it particularly well either politically or socially - and strangely enough, it encompasses both the USA and Guatemala. 

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