Why China’s fight with CoronaVirus should become the fight of the world, today?
Tejinder Singh Bedi
Kudos to the the Times of India for its very balanced leading editorial, “Not Efficient — Coronavirus should dim authoritarianism’s allure” in today’s issue.
As I pen these lines, the dreaded epidemic of Coronavirus has already infected 77,577 persons in China and killed over 2350 already. And both the counts are on an unabated increase despite the best possible reactive steps being taken by China as well as the other nations reeling under its grip.
As per another parallel report from the TOI, the Chinese President Xi Jinping has also observed that the coronavirus in China is yet to peak which indicates the worst may not yet be over there for retraction.
While as per sections of media reports the epidemic was first reported in Wuhan on December 12, 2019, apparently it was not viewed to be as serious a threat as it eventually turned out to be by the third week of January, catching the world by surprise.
On the contrary, as per media reports, Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who plucked-up the guts to alert his colleagues on the social media was reportedly punished and silenced and it is unfortunate that later he himself too succumbed to this disease! While, it had taken more than 40 days after the first report for China to quarantine Wuhan from the rest of its territories by January 23.
The death of a second young doctor Peng Yinhua from China equipped with the know how of all precautionary measures within a quarantined zone also highlights the severity of the virus, if all precautions may not have been taken care of with all seriousness.
The city in the meantime had already reportedly sent 5 million people on vacations for the Chinese New Year Holiday world-wide and one only wishes all of them might have travelled out without having picked any infection and without having left it anywhere in wherever they happened to spend their vacations and if at all some did travel after having picked up the same how many out of them finally might have got counted in the bulging figures of confirmed cases of over 77000 already post their re entry in China for subsequent tracking.
One hopes travel history and visit of any of such numbers too gets screened by healthcare experts in whatever regions they might have stayed or spent time in.
Perhaps it is rightly opined by the TOI editorial that timely precautionary advisories, measures, warnings could also not be openly announced in China as its authoritarian system made it difficult for the sane voices to reach the top administrative echelons and to open up to public in good time. And if it is true, China has really put the entire globe in deep peril today!
On an average, over 50 million people have been visiting China from around the globe every year. Of these, Hon Kong, Macau, Taiwan and South Korea send the maximum. From India, on a very rough estimate nearly ten lakh people are estimated to be travelling to China every year though the number of Chinese travelling into India has been traditionally and historically far lesser. Even then, before the travel embargoes started getting in place, nearly a lakh must have already travelled to China this year during the period since first outbreak, i.e. between Dec 12, 2019 till January 23, 2020.
It is definitely a matter of great good fortune for India so far that despite these huge, though guesstimated numbers, by and large India has remained immune to the outbreak except for a very small number in Kerala handled really well by the State healthcare machinery.
Barring China which by now is already in the middle of a very serious crises — all of Italy, South Korea and some pockets of global parks operating out of Gurgaon, Bangalore & Mumbai have finally started reacting and have started telling most of their employed work-force to work from home, at least in sectors of industry and economy where it is not difficult to deploy such work practices.
Italy is reported to have directed temporary shut down of all public places including coffee shops, restaurants and schools too in the areas affected and if so must be applauded for these very timely pro-active steps for other nations open to consider such measures too.
Air India and some other private flight operators from India have also done well to extend suspension of flights to China till June end besides Hong Kong and may have to do the same to South Korea too — another country where the outbreak has been showing a steep increase ever since its first outbreak there.
Enforcing fool proof precautions both for the affected as well as un affected regions seem to be the only way out to combat the situation until a suitable vaccine or treatment gets developed and tested on human beings and put to large scale use — which might take upto even six months to a year from now.
Governments of all the affected nations as such at least must issue directives for reducing avoidable public exposure of their respective populations by enforcing both studies as well as work from home, wherever and to the extent feasible besides restricting international travel to the minimal only for unavoidable emergencies for at least three months to study the spiralling effect of the spread of this deadly virus world-wide unless the prime objective with any government may be mass reduction in their human headcounts and/or ensuring the spread of the disease to every nook and corner of the globe!
#Coronavirus #GodblessChina # Healthcare #UN #UnitedNations #WHO #GodblesstheWorld