FROM RACISM TO CONTAINMENT TO COMBATING
From reinforcing stereotypes to boycotting Chinese food, just as the news of the coronavirus began emerging from China, so did racism. With 2020 still taking over the reins from 2019, the international community is faced with yet another crisis. The first case of COVID – 19 was identified when reportedly a pneumonia case of unknown cause in Wuhan, China was reported to the World Health Organisation [WHO] country office on 31st December 2019. Since then from being declared a Public Health Emergency to a worldwide pandemic.
From claiming countless lives to straining an already fragile economy, it becomes imperative that an effective strategy for containment is adopted not just by individual states but on a large global scale. As per WHO while more than 153,00 cases of the respiratory illness have been recorded globally as of 15th March 2020, it is on the decline in China. By adhering to the principles of early detection, quarantine and early treatment, cases of the virus are rapidly declining in China. Whereas the pandemic continues to spread in the rest of the world, even sprouting nation-wide quarantines and lockdowns.
As of right now the best way to control further spread of COVID – 19 is to learn from the experience and response of China. With numerous countries shutting down schools and colleges, the effective restrictions on travel and Italy which is the second worse hit country, being under total lockdown. Despite all these efforts, the pandemic shows no signs of immobilization. Though the Chinese government has been accused of unaccountability by refusing to share critical information pertinent to the coronavirus with both the international community as well as its own population, rampant abuse of civil liberties, threatening doctors, and whistle-blowers who sought to warn the public about the epidemic. It also cannot be denied that while other nations continue to struggle with the virus, China has been successful in weakening the force of the coronavirus outbreak.
The most effective measure adopted by China to combat the spread of COVID – 19 has been, restrictions of public gatherings, suspension of public transport, shutting down entertainment venues. And at this point in time, it is essential that all nations implement these measures stringently. One of the most important lessons that states can take away from the Chinese experience is that speed, accuracy and science-based communication are required. For instance, it took almost a few months to identify and communicate the SARS outbreak in 2003, thereby worsening the condition. Another crucial measure that China undertook was the availability of free and accessible COVID testing, in the beginning in Wuhan, it took almost 15 days from being sick to hospitalization but they brought it down to 2 days from showing symptoms to isolation. While in many countries as of now, COVID testing is subject to several prerequisites and restrictions such as people who have no recent history of foreign travel and haven’t been in contact with any known infected person may not qualify for testing. China’s tackling of the virus is applaudable and serves as an important reminder to the rest of the world that by abiding by the vital rules and imposing the mandatory regulations, the novel Coronavirus can be halted from progressing any further.
A critical tool to fight against the pandemic is to evaluate the capability of medical resources. The virus has in many regions severely crippled the health system, from a shortage of healthcare workers to the scarcity of medical supplies. During the outbreak in Wuhan, nearly 31 medical teams were transported, new temporary hospitals constructed which catered only to COVID patients. This fast and active response has been a major contributor to the decreasing spread of the virus. Given its contagious nature and the fact that its symptoms closely resemble those of a common cold or flu, it had been even harder to identify infected individuals. Furthermore, many countries even now aren’t realizing the seriousness of the situation. Everywhere we see, all media outlets, social media handles are talking about basic precautionary measures – washing our hands, avoiding public gatherings, limiting social interactions, and yet it doesn’t seem to be established globally.
The social distancing principles - closure of schools and universities, limitation of movement, quarantining, avoiding mass gatherings, and many more have become absolutely necessary. And to avoid the condition that Italy is currently undergoing or that China underwent, states have to take this crisis as seriously as it is. China is now resuming its economy and hopefully, the rest of the world will be able to do so soon if it follows and learns from China’s account. And just perhaps Corona beer won’t go out of business.
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