OPINION-Agency

The days became weeks; the weeks became months. Happily, we reach these days without any new local or imported cases of Covid-19, which is excellent news. Conversely, the recent data on the economy could hardly be worse. At this juncture, it becomes critical for us all to have some idea about how to get on (and out) from here. 

The not-so-good news is that we still do not seem to have an idea about what we should, at least ideally, do. As time passes and we are better able to define and prepare for coming threats, the absence of strategy or a vision about how we get to normal life – or even what a normal life will look like – is starting to impose a toll on everyone. 

Nobody doubts that this city needs visitors; needs to reestablish some level of regular operations. Of course, we could move gambling online and close the town. That radical option aside, we need to think hard how to make the best of a difficult situation, but not catastrophic conditions – and to avoid contributing ourselves to making them so.

We should be in a privileged position to develop a roadmap and an itinerary for the recovery. It would not be without its critical junctures and uncertainties, but it would be a shared frame that allows everyone to start moving and coordinating, sharing some notion, at least, about where we are going, how long it may take to get there, and what obstacles we are likely to meet on the way.

We have favourable conditions for the control of epidemic outbreaks. Macau is an affluent city, able to provide and, if not already available locally, acquire proper medical care for a relatively small population. We have abundant reserves that help to attenuate the roughest impacts of the crisis. We have a limited extension of borders to monitor, and a minimal number of entry points that can be easily controlled. 

Given those circumstances, it is incumbent upon us to frame such an itinerary. No one other than us can do it better, if at all. We all need to organize our lives based on some assumptions or expectations about what tomorrow will look like. Few things are so destructive for social cohesion than the inability to plan or prepare for what is likely to come. Nothing destroys the present more than the absence of a future.