How Will The World Combat The Novel COVID-19?
Muhammad Hani tries to encapsulate what a post-Covid-19 world would look like. Will it just be based on survival of the fittest? Is the government of Pakistan on the right path to making things better? Has Pakistan tested enough people for the virus to be able to ease the lockdown already?
Globally, the coronavirus outbreak has put the World on a cessation. In essence, it has not only slackened down the economy but totally transformed the ‘New World Order’, crafted after the fall of communistic forces.
On a global canvas, world leaders are pondering in their size, the effective ways to combat the pandemic. Since the start of 2020, different countries started halting, and by now, almost all the countries are under lockdown.
So far, there are two ways deciphered to deal with the novel Coronavirus. Indeed, one of the following is also recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO):
- Self-Immunization – let the economy shut down, and people stay in self-isolation and quarantine.
- Herd Immunization – let the economy move slickly, and people will immunize together.
We caught sight of both the practices in different countries, especially the US and the UK. Ultimately, they had to go for the lockdown due to the surge in the death toll. Likewise, if you set eyes on Pakistan – PM Khan repeatedly whispered in herd immunization as it’s more effective. There were obvious reasons to justify the claims of PM Khan. After all, Pakistan as a state has some realism that needs to be looked into:
- Pakistan lacks resources, which is why it’s not conceivable for aggressive testing under the lockdown. By now, Pakistan has hardly crossed 100,000 tests aggregated – it’s only 0.0454% of our total population.
- The already starved economy of Pakistan will leave people to die due to hunger, and especially daily wagers.
- Lastly, mass is taking laughing matter to the pandemic. According to a survey in Pakistan, the majority of people be confident that Coronavirus may not distress us. Though, it’s absolutely absurd because the infection spreads without any discrimination. In that context, the UK is a classic example where Prime Minister, Borris Johnson, and Prince Charles diagnosed with positive Coronavirus.
Even in the US, people are out on the streets seeking for business as usual. It’s almost unthinkable for the big countries, with a lack of resources to confine people to the houses. Once people start collapsing due to hunger, it may lead to anarchy, which will leave us to devastation. For countries like Pakistan, the coronavirus outbreak is something that can neither spit or swallow. Especially the people on daily wages are in the most vulnerable place as they don’t take adequate measures guided by infectious disease experts.
At the same time, the coronavirus outbreak has brought forward the dysfunctionality of the state. For example, the state couldn’t ban congregational prayers and knelt down before the mullahs. The mullahs, who have been part of government committees like Ruet-e-Hilal, are not complying state policy. And like always, the government was impotent to take them to the task.
Moreover, the government hospitals neglected for decades show the attitude of our policy-makers towards the health sector. Well, it’s wary for our policy-makers to focus on medical facilities to battle with biological warfare instead of forging Pakistan to be a jungjoo riyasat (fighting state).
Besides, we also gazed at the polarization in our society that has sky-rocket. Despite a national emergency – there is political scoring being done on the pandemic. Undoubtedly, Sindh government’s ruling was pure from the first day of the outbreak, and Pakistan Tehreek-i–Insaf is still stumbling and fumbling on a clear position to combat COVID-19.
Initially, PTI wasn’t in favor of going for a lockdown. However, after Sindh Chief Minister, Murad Ali Shah announced a lockdown on 22nd March, other provinces also followed. According to a newspaper, the military leadership allegedly took center stage and urged other provinces to follow the design. Eventually, after a month almost, the federal government has bulldozed its decision, despite reservation from the Sindh government.
Ostensibly, the trend reflects, world leaders have tacit following the lockdown that it may cause hefty stresses in the world economy. It may be sounder to reopen the economy and let it be the survival of the fittest. According to the IMF projections, the world economy will shrink by 3% this year, which may cause further joblessness around the world vis-à-vis the global recession in 2009 that dip the world GDP only by -0.1%.
So, one can envisage the gravitas of further lockdowns. Moreover, the crude oil prices have already hit the lowest in history – it has hit $20/barrel. If the trend escalates, the prices of crude oil may touch $1/barrel. Meanwhile, in the US, the demand is dried up, leaving petrol prices in negative. That means oil companies are overwhelmed with the stocks, and demand is compressing.
In a nutshell, only the poor people will haul the consequences on either front. The poverty-stricken either have a choice to risk their lives for the pennies or die due to hunger. And pick with the hope of this shall too pass.
The author writes for various Pakistani news websites.