Dear students, Dear colleagues, The COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has gained a global dimension of pandemic, unprecedented in the recent history. Alma Mater Europaea engages with consciousness and knowledge as we were the first that closed doors of our institutions and immediately introduced smooth distance education. Teachers, employed in health and social care centres, have been involved in activities those institutions, whereas many students have been participating in volunteer work under Slovenian Red Cross or Slovenia Civil protection, respectively. Up to this date, we have had nearly 1000 healthcare professionals and gerontologists, all employed and dedicated to overcome the epidemic, saving health and providing security to those in need.
The pandemic is a challenge which demands unconditional, total discipline of each individual, great personal sacrifice of health and social workers, and responsible acts of public, utility and state services to carry out their duties consistently. People are required to take a careful care of the hygiene, to observe the distance, to protect themselves and restrict movement.
According to experience from China, COVID-19 can be managed by setting up complete blockades; first, between regions (in Europe between countries) and second, between provinces or municipalities, followed by detention of local communities or houses and final, individual homes for at least 1 to 3 weeks. During this period, infected with the virus develop symptoms and are properly treated, places and streets are disinfected if needed. This method relives health systems and funeral services.
Today we see that wherever politicians and the media have been fawning people, where personal discipline and the sense of responsibility has been abandoned, everyone suffers; in Milan, in New York, in Ljubljana, in Šmarje pri Jelšah. We all suffer along them.
The success in fight against the virus depends on us; we have to wash our hands consistently, care for hygiene of people and things around us, to isolate ourselves at home and keep distance from one another, to work and educate ourselves, to be tolerant and respectful to our close ones, to share the good and the bad in solidarity, to loyally obey the law and order, to care for children, disabled and isolated. Guardians of the order should, however, play a decisive role to isolate those who violate public orders and disobey medical instructions.
Today we have two available choices: either up or down, either three weeks or three months. In the first case, we will survive alike any serious flu or as a farmer survives a hail or a fire.
In the second case we may experience rough consequences: the whole economy would be stopped, the health epidemic would be followed by the economic crisis, there would be no money left for wages; the economic crisis would be followed by a deep social crisis, people would not be able to buy the goods for their survival; all this would be followed by a political crisis which would have unimaginable consequences. Populists with the media campaign are waiting in style: the worse, the better. All this can prevent informing people from without panic. A fair distribution of good and bad is required, along with solidarity at all levels - in family, in company, in neighbourhood, in municipality and in the country and in Europe.
This assumes responsibilities at the following levels:
the duty of politicians is to act decisively and responsibly to ensure the care of the population;
it is the responsibility of the profession, doctors, health and social institutions to fulfil their mission in line with their best knowledge and ethics;
the responsibility of economic operators and financial institutions is to ensure fair distribution of goods, which should be regulated fairly by the state;
the duty of teachers and parents is to encourage and educate themselves and their children in the spirit of overcoming the crisis;
it is the duty of the Church to instill hope, peace and trust in people;
the responsibility of media is to share encouraging information, to contribute to moral and political tolerance, not to cooperate in political intrigues of the financial or political centres, and not to promote social pathology in the fight for power;
it is the duty of law and order guardians to preserve law and order instead of speaking about punishments, yet to isolate the offenders;
it is the duty of government officials to provide wise and strategic internal order and external security of people, property, democracy and human rights, as well as prosperity and peace.
Teachers, students and all other employees of Alma Mater are aware of the facts above. Our teachers and researchers work in health or social care institutions, while others translate manuals from Chinese language for healthcare professionals to fight COVID-19 virus.
Today we would like to express our gratitude and support to Alma Mater staff, who have been working in hospitals or volunteering in nursing homes these days. We advise everyone to look out for their own health and health of their loved ones. Last, but not least, I wish that the government officials ensure peace, health and well-being of all people, so we can continue to work in a few weeks with new insights for the necessary solidarity between people.
Prof. Dr. Ludvik Toplak,
The president of AMEU ECM