Coronavirus ushers new norms to life

Image: Jozef Polc/123rf.com

A week ago the president declared a national state of disaster, kicking off a set of government regulations aimed at protecting all of us from the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.

In just days the number of people infected by the virus in SA has shot through the 200 mark.

These numbers are expected to grow, as per the authorities' forecast. Naturally, since then as individuals and collectively our sense of social awareness and vulnerability has been heightened.

Previously pedestrian phrases such as social distancing and self-isolation have now become part of our daily vocabulary.

Living them is our new norm.

Similarly, the impact of this on us as journalists has been enormous. By its very nature our work demands contact with those whose stories we tell.

This pandemic has forced us to re-examine how we practise our craft. The prevailing and necessary restrictions mean we need to apply ourselves differently, balancing our own adherence to safety guidelines with our obligation to help you make sense of the world around you.

Rest assured, we are committed to doing this. We recognise that in difficult and uncertain times such as these, credible information is most vital to empower you to make safer choices for yourself and loved ones. We have dedicated our platforms, both print and digital, to cover extensively what this pandemic means for your health, your livelihood and your community.

Equally, these platforms are there to promote constructive engagement between all of us as we navigate this unfamiliar terrain. We do so especially mindful that ours is one of the most unequal societies in the world.

Therefore as a news platform it is our duty to ensure that the voices of those who are particularly vulnerable precisely because they live in conditions of poverty, are sufficiently heard.

This pandemic is a defining moment for our country.

It demands leadership from those who exercise power and influence. It demands discipline and adherence from us as individuals.

And perhaps most profoundly, this period is a reminder that our nation can only move forward if we work towards a common purpose.

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