ISLAMABAD : The large scale global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has brought about drastic changes in pattern of cultural and social interactions almost in every society as from greetings to meetings a deliberate attempt of ‘social distancing’ is made to halt the spread of virus.
The virus is primarily transmitted through direct contact with infectious person or with droplets of the infected person’s cough or sneeze, or touching the surface that has cough or sneeze droplets. And later on touching mouth or face with the infected hand as the COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces for several hours.
Therefore, in order to curb the menace of deadly virus, the sudden social change is witnessed in the mode of interaction. The change is somehow a cultural sock in Pakistani society. People are slowly getting adapted with the changing scenario of new social norms of greetings. However, it wouldn’t be possible to break the chain of virus without embracing the fast changing paradigm of social interactions.
As a responsible member of the world community, Pakistan has taken bold and timely steps to impose restrictions on gatherings, social and political activities by locking down the routine works, educational institutions and public transport operations. Thus people have been restricted to their homes to follow precautionary measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread.
The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has been named as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. The COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its cross-border spread.
The public is time and again sensitized to ensure at least six feet distance while interacting with each other. They are also asked to avoid handshake and hugging during meeting with one another. Only the responsible move of individual members in line with the government instructions can ensure safety of the collective wellbeing of the society.
The virus which emerged in Wuhan city has later gripped other parts of the country. The Chinese government has locked down the entire city and established various quarantines to accommodate around 12 million people. After getting the situation from bad to worse, the movement of around 60 million people turned stagnant while the city has shown a deserted look.
According to Pakistan’s real-time updates data portal for COVID-19 till filing of the feature, the virus has so for infected 6, 49,024 people and caused deaths to 30,277 people worldwide. Likewise, in Pakistan, so for a total of 1, 495 cases and 12 deaths of coronavirus have been reported: Punjab 557, Sindh 469, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 188, Baluchistan 133, Gilgit-Baltistan 107, Islamabad 39 and AJK 02. The portal has also reported the recovery of 25 coronavirus patients in the country.
Talking to APP, General Surgeon, Nowshera Medical Complex, Dr. Fazal Ghani said, “Extraordinary situations always ask for extraordinary measures, especially when it comes to public health safety.” While urging people to frequently wash hands with soap and avoid contacting with sick people and animals, he said, in the existing social structure and combined family system; one has to be more careful about the precautionary measures.
Dr. Fazal Ghani said that people should avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands while knowledge, attitude and practice can safeguard the masses from infection of coronavirus. “Only strict precautions can help us protect from the spread of virus”, he added.
Sherafsar Khattak, a social worker who formed groups of volunteers in Sawal Dher, Mardan to sensitize public on protective measures against coronavirus said, “It is now a national obligation for each and every Pakistani to strictly adhere the government instructions against the virus.” He said that due to the prevailing situation of coronavirus cases in the country, people have been sensitized enough on social distancing.
Muhammad Uzair Khan, a college lecturer, said that in the wake of coronavirus, the indoor restricted people have got an opportunity to stay with parents, kids and relatives. He said that social distancing has not been maintained as such due to high level of socialization and social norms of the society.
Islamabad based philanthropist Saud Shah Roghani who distributed thousands of masks among the people has said that after the COVID-19 has become a global issue, the prevailing social custom of greetings had undergone a drastic change. He, however, urged the government to keep on sensitizing the masses on social distancing for breaking the chain of the virus.
Global Socio-Economic Impact of Covid-19
The Pandemic originating from Wuhan China has enveloped the whole world and the catastrophe caused by covid-19 is beyond speculation. Schools, Colleges, Universities and business are closed for an indefinite period and the World has gone into self-isolation while the countries imposed lockdown in the world in the severely hit areas to contain the outbreak at massive scale.
The pandemic has affected all the countries especially China, France, Italy, Germany, US, UK, Iran, Egypt and third world countries i.e Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and some African countries.
There are some countries which are severely impacted socially and economically while some countries have sustained moderate impact owing to taking timely preventive measures as per circulated guidelines of WHO and Local Health ministries of respective Countries.
With President Donald Trump clipping the wings of UN’s apex health body by cutting the financial support amid the Global Pandemic, the catastrophe is expected to go from bad to worse as WHO will experience the funds’ shortage that will ultimately contribute to a deep humanitarian crisis.
The world posts a bleak picture already as all business activities have been suspended, the markets have been closed for an indefinite period, the stock markets crashed and the unemployment ratio suddenly jumped to historical high due to covid-19 Pandemic. Even OPEC members have decided to cut the oil production given the pandemic situation.
The Global economy has been severely impacted by the shocks of the deadly virus that prompted companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Face book, Twitter to ask their employees to work from home to avoid contracting Covid-19.
All the industries have been impacted badly that include entertainment, Sports, food franchise has completely shutdown creating panicking situation all around as once busiest streets and markets have started presenting deserted look.
This global economic warrants that if the early remedy to cure covid-19 is not discovered, the future will be dreadful to predict. The mighty economies such as China, the US, France, Italy, UK, Germany has been seriously impacted by this deadly virus. The situation is haunting the people around the world, bringing misery of greater proportion as compared to Word War II, Ebola, SARS, MERS, Plage and Yaws.
The Daily Wage workers, Private workers, drivers, hawkers, shop keepers and thousands of similar workers have lost their jobs and the opportunity to earn their livelihood. The companies have preferred work from home option for their employees to limit the outbreak and avoid contracting covid-19.
It is alarming that hundreds of workers have filed as unemployed. The lengthy lockdowns have created serious humanitarian and economic crises and the experts are of the view that the circumstances are fast moving towards the global recessions and may take a long time to recover from this catastrophe.
Though China has been able to contain Covid-19 and even lifted restrictions on outgoing flights with some strict SOPs, yet the Covid 19 seems to be an invisible predator waiting for its prey regardless of any region. The virus has impacted all the zones i.e with the cooler, hotter or moderate atmosphere.
The only solution to fight this pandemic is social distancing, maintaining the hygienic environment and avoiding crowdy spaces. The Governments around the world have imposed strict lockdowns and the frontline fighters (Health workers) around the world doing a marvellous job to protect their fellowmen even at the cost of falling prey to this deadly virus.
While fighting this pandemic. Many health workers have been tested positive. Even, some frontline soldiers lost their fight to this pandemic and laid down their lives to secure the future of their respective country.
Education is being imparted through digital platforms as online education is increasing for students. Though students are facing some issues such as the connectivity, Sound quality, Video Quality, yet in this emergency, the Schools, Colleges, Universities and other online course websites are striving to provide some light of Knowledge in these difficult times.
The booming industries such as restaurants, hotels, motels and Aviation have been closed for an indefinite period.
Unfortunately, despite 151598 deaths worldwide and over 2.21 Million confirmed cases covid-19, all eyes are hooked towards the discovery of vaccine to treat the patients and save their lives. At the moment, only plasma therapy is being conducted and some common medicines are being used such as cough, flu fever-related medicine.
Though human trials have been started by some Pharmaceutical companies, the experts are of the view that it may take one and half year for the vaccine to be available in the market. It is also estimated to be the costliest vaccine ever keeping in view its global implications and rapid speed of pandemic spread in the world.
It is estimated that Europe, Asia, Middle East to suffer a lot especially, Italy, France, UK, Iran and US as the ratio of deaths is higher than other countries especially US where average deaths per days have surpassed all other nations that prompted Trump to cut funding to world health Organization accusing it of mishandling the pandemic and delayed response to mitigate its implication while WHO head has refuted the allegations.
The covid-19 has also impacted Sports, News & Media, Entertainment and Services Industries to the extent that. All the sporting events have been suspended, series and Leagues have been rescheduled and big events such as PSL, IPL, FIFA World Cup, Olympics Games and others have been completely cancelled raising concerns among the players. Even the players are facing the trauma having travel history to the epicentre of Covid-19 Pandemic and tested positive.
The Entertainment industry has been heavily impacted as all the dramas, Films and comedy shooting and recording has been postponed till indefinite period and all the events including concerts have cancelled due to covid-19 and actors have lost the source of living.
Finally, the Print and Electronic Media are partially impacted though they are a very vulnerable community as they have been busy in coverage of the pandemic around the world and are prone to contracting the deadly virus due to close contact with Patients at Quarantine Centres and the Health specialists working at the hospital and temporary health centres specially set up for an emergency.
The Print Media has been hit hard as people consider it risky to read a Print copy of newspapers over covid-19 fears and prefer paper or online edition of the newspapers. Hence, such a trend has impacted the Newspaper Sales badly.
On the other hand, electronic media such as News Channels, Radio and Digital Media such as Websites, YouTube are grabbing people’ attention.
The Social Media is also buzzing with Covid-19 updates though Social Media and Silicon Valley companies have asked their employees to work from home and follow the preventive measures these include Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Search Giant Google.
The world should be united to fight this global pandemic that is haunting the world. The US should release funds to help WHO work effectively for global health and expedite the process of vaccine discovery as each day will deprive the near and dear ones of the families around the world. With collaborative efforts, the world can win this war against the pandemic.
Coronavirus Pandemic and Global Response
The World is undergoing serious economic, social and health crisis as the Covid-19 outbreak originating from Wuhan China, has spread to almost all the continents of the World except Antarctica – the Unhabitated Continent.
Hundreds of People died in china, Iran, France, South Korea and Italy. Italy has been severely gripped by a coronavirus. The Covid-19 after bringing catastrophe in Asia reached Europe and Africa.
Though Africa has limited cases as reported but given the alarming and catastrophic situation rising every day. The South Asian countries i.e. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh though ill-prepared to fight against this Pandemic have done a tremendous job in terms of preparations and taking preventive measures to limit the spread of the fatal Covid-19.
As hundreds of cases are reported positive, fear, economic crisis, education and health effects have played havoc to the countries to fight Covid-19. The World Health Organizations (WHO) has declared it pandemic asking countries to follow the precaution or preventive measures as circulated by WHO and Isolation facilities for those diagnosed positive.
The States have started diverting their funds towards fighting this novel Virus and having set up Emergency Health Centers and Isolation Centers for quarantining those arriving from worst-affected countries i.e. China, Iran, France, America and Italy.
Sindh has been the worst affected by this Virus with 146 confirmed cases as most of the cases are imported from Iran via Taftan.
These include those pilgrims (Zairian) who are returning from Iran after visiting holy places. CM Sindh has so far done a marvelous job by setting up Isolation and Screening Camp at Sukkur to diagnose and keep them at the facility to avert any possibility of contraction to their families.
KP stands second with sudden appearance 19 cases since these confirmed cases are also imported through Taftan border as the affected patients had recently returned from a pilgrimage from Iran. Baluchistan is on 3rd Number with 10 confirmed cases, GB 3 and Islamabad capital with 04 cases. Fortunately, there is any case in AJK.
The media is regularly breaking and updating news every moment regarding the novel coronavirus, adding the rise to the concerns regarding the sudden outbreak of the pandemic to more countries. The concerns and feelings of fear run high amid cancellations and postponement of all sporting activities, education, colleges, universities and Wedding or public gatherings.
Companies such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Microsoft and Apple have advised their employees to stay at home and work from their home. They also circulated the WHO guidelines among their employees and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people as announced in the latest guidelines of WHOM.
Countries are strictly following the preventive measures communicated to the people by WHO experts and putting bans on unnecessary travel in the city or out of city or borders.
It is the alarming and panicking situation since No vaccine nor has injection been made to treat those affected with the novel coronavirus. WHO cautions the countries having limited facilities to conduct tests and treat the patients advising states around the world especially the Asia and Europe to take preventive measures until the vaccine to treat this deadly virus could be discovered by Medical scientists and microbiologists?
At the moment Covid-19 has caused more deaths than Ebola outbreak in African countries, especially in Congo. According to reports that as per, the calculations based on the Center of disease control, the scenarios suggested that as many as 2.4 million to 21 million people in the U.S. could require hospitalization, potentially crushing the nation’s medical system, which has only about 925,000 staffed hospital beds as reported by Media.
The number is very low to house the huge number of affected people from covid-19. It may bring a panicking situation in a developed country like the USA. Less than a tenth of those are for people who are critically ill.
It would be disastrous to deal with the pandemic given the Medical facilities available at the US and the African states.
At the moment, China is the worst hit with 3800 deaths due to novel coronavirus followed by Italy with 1800 deaths, South Korea with 75 deaths, Iran with 600 deaths.
Luckily, the situation Africa is under control since so far there are a few reported cases but there is no confirmation of the Virus cases yet.
The African nations have started preparations for fighting this deadly virus, they have one advantage of fighting with the Ebola virus and the lessons learnt from dealing with that epidemic such health and hygiene requirements.
Though African countries have limited resources and facilities yet they have started following the WHO Precautionary measures to deal with Possible outbreak of the deadly virus that has spread all over the world.
Its implications are dreadful and catastrophic for the world at large. The world has been struggling to deal with this pandemic as Schools, colleges, universities, restaurants; religious Places have been shut over the fears of this Pandemic.
People are advised through the media campaigns and instructions circulated by WHO to adopt the precautionary measures to remain safe from this disease. Though the symptoms include fever, cough, close breathing affecting lungs, the precautionary material is being aired on Media to apprise people of this deadly virus that has been spreading at a massive scale.
Unfortunately, the medical scientists and microbiologists have not been able to discover any antidote to control it from the spread and contain it. Even WHO appears to be helpless against this disease rather circulated precautionary measures to remain on the safe side until a vaccine could be made for the treatment of the virus?
The physicians have been advising the common treatment for fever such as Paracetmol ,cough syrup and self-isolation to recover from this pandemic as preventive measure .
Till date, there are 100 reported cases in African Countries with two deaths happened in Morocco and Egypt each.
According to statistics of WHO the Country wise break up of reported cases of Virus covid-19: Algeria -20, Burkina Faso-2, Cameron-2, Democratic Republic of Congo -1, Egypt highest number of cases -59 includes one death, Morocco -3 with one death, Nigeria 2, Senegal 4, South Africa -13, Tunisia -5 and Togo -1. So far, the situation in African countries is normal only Egypt has the maximum number of cases reported.
The African Countries have been well prepared to contain the outbreak that has played havoc around the world specifically in Asian countries i.e. China, Iran and Europe. There are at least 150000 reported cases worldwide and over 6000 deaths owing to this deadly virus including 3600 deaths in china alone following by 1800 deaths in Italy.
The Ebola Experience has enabled the African nations to develop a comprehensive plan to fight this Novel Corona Virus. There are about 100 cases have been reported in 11 African Countries while there were only two deaths.
Most of the cases in Egypt are those passengers who had travelled from abroad and the crew members of the ship coming from the countries which are being worst or moderately affected by the deadly coronavirus. The reported cases are just imported out of Africa as there is not any domestic viral outbreak.
However, apart from the rest of world, African states have done a tremendous job to contain Covid-19 by adopting strict preventive measures by completely banning Travel from the countries which are the worst affected by the Corona Virus.
In this connection, Rwanda has not reported any case, yet it has advised the citizens to maintain hygiene in the country. Rwanda has installed hand Washing Taps and sanitizers to defeat the viral outbreak in the country.
Similarly, Kenya has not reported any cases, yet it has established the 120-bed Quarantine centre and two Testing facilities at Nairobi.
Nigeria has also made mandatory to use hand sanitizers while visiting banks, restaurants, Office and supermarkets to limit the spread of deadly Novel Corona Virus.
Even several health workers have been deployed by the Government of Nigeria at the international Airports to screen the passengers to avert any possibility of a contracting virus.
According to News reports that the Experience of Nigeria’s dealing with the Ebola Virus has enabled the African Nations to adopt the preventive measures to limit the contraction of Novel Coronavirus in the country.
All the Airline companies have suspended their flights over the fears of Covid-19 that include Rwanda Air, Kenyan Airlines, and Royal Air Morocco.
They have learnt that hand washing is the first line of defence against any viruses. The case studies of Ebola have furthered their defence.
On the other hand, China has been able to overcome the outbreak by bringing the number to single digits. WHO has also recommended learning from China how it faces this pandemic.
Chinese Experience should be utilized to help control the pandemic in Italy as it has been worst hit by Covid-19 where the death toll crossed 1800 People and Iran 600 people.
Even WHO should take experts from African countries, China and Europe to develop a strategy to fight this pandemic. The pandemic has been contracted in India with confirmed cases of 107, Pakistan with confirmed cases of 189 as per the latest information available. The numbers are constantly growing increasing concerns of people regarding the preparedness of various nations against this Pandemic.
Though, the cases reported and confirmed in South Asia are mainly those who travelled to Iran, Syria, and China. There is so far no confirmed case of domestic nature or any death. Even, there is no death reported yet in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
Luckily, after a long time, SAARC Leadership held the online Video conference to exchange level of readiness against this Novel Corona Virus. The Video Conference was held on the request of Indian PM Narendra Modi. Dr Zafar Mirza proposed a regional Mechanism to fight covid-19 and even demanded to lift Curfew in IOK over the concerns of Novel Corona Virus.
Finally, it is essential to follow WHO prescriptions to remain secure until the vaccine could be developed for this deadly virus. Medical experts claim that the vaccine may take 18 Months to be available to fight this Pandemic.
WHO has cautioned the developing countries around the world to take preventive measure to prevent people from falling prey this pandemic especially those who have limited resources and ill-prepared to fight this Deadly Covid-19 effectively.
The Circumstances in Sindh are very alarming, Government of Pakistan must take strong measures of screening at Taftan border with the composition of experts from Health Ministry both Public and Private Sector to fight this Pandemic and contain it from spreading rapidly.
China-India Stand-Off and the Emerging World Order
The Recent showdown between People’s Liberation Army and Indian Army has escalated the situation in Galwan valley along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) Between China and India. The unarmed fight resulted in the killing of 20 Indian Soldiers while the casualties on China side have not been confirmed yet.
The analysts link the fight with Indian Unilateral move on August 05 2019, when it annexed the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by repealing article 370.
This move irked both Pakistan and china and both raised the issue at UNSC and UNGA and recorded their protest against such unilateral move that was tantamount to UN Security Council Resolutions that asked for holding a plebiscite in disputed Jammu and Kashmir.
Unfortunately, India has worst diplomatic relations with its neighbours such as Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It has used all its resources to destabilize neighbouring states especially Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The recent clash has serious repercussion after 40 years when both Nations clashed in 1962. The war clouds are looming as both Nations are preparing to engage in a full-scale war that might be disastrous for the whole region. So much so that UK Newspapers called it World War –III as two biggest South Asian Countries engaged in fighting that was a heavy blow to Fascist Modi who is the mastermind of Muslim Massacre and Genocide.
Even linked Covid-19 outbreak with Muslims, that showed his Hindutva mindset and stupidity. The Indian reaction to boycott Chinese Brands will cost the heavily economically as world economies are already fragile owing to two-month lockdown that has paralyzed the business and Trade and limited people to their houses.
Pakistan has been watching the emerging situation after June 15 Clash between Chinese PLA and Indian Army, is ready to defend its frontiers as Forces put on Red Alert.
The high-level negotiations were held to deescalate the situation but all efforts of peacemaking have not produced positive results and Modi’s BJP is underfire internally since Congress has been posing hard questions as Chinese forces are present in areas claimed by India.
There are protests in Nepal against India as new released Map has reflected some disputed areas in India that have also sparked protests in Nepal. Though India still enjoys support from the US especially from President Donald Trump he is himself under pressure from Republicans owing to his failure to manage the pandemic and the cases are soaring each day.
America is worst affected by the pandemic with the maximum number of infections and deaths over one lac. India has also close relations with Israel and has purchased fighter jets and other war-related items.
The recent mysterious bomb blasts targeting Iran’s Nuclear Installations and army camps have raised serious questions on the state of Iran’s internal l security measures as well as it let everybody wondering that who was behind the attacks but Iran has blamed Israel for the blasts.
Though none has accepted the responsibility of attacks, Iran has alleged Israel as Israel is the soul of the US and may be involved in a bombing incident.
The conflict will expand in the Middle East and South Asia if Iran takes aggressive action against Israel and on the other hand If China and India engage in a full-scale war.
The situation is getting tougher and complicated day by as US has been struggling to tackle with the pandemic issue that has infected millions of American baffling US President Donald to the extent that It power game is waning each passing day and Global influence is declining due to economic crisis and massive unemployment owing to the pandemic.
The pandemic has forced hundreds of companies to lay off staff as they could not afford to pay the salaries of Staff given the lockdowns imposed by various Governments in the world as well as the sense of uncertainty gripping the enterprises and startups.
Though the health companies, Pharma and Tech companies, online stores and markets are booming with profit the most profitable business, travel and Tour, entertainment and Hotel Business and wedding Party and Even management Companies have almost been closed for an indefinite period owing to the restrictions placed by the Governments to control the outbreak of Covid-19.
US being superpower has been weakened or jolted by the pandemic and gradually losing its hold on world Affairs. On the contrary, China has been regaining the control and even declared itself superpower of the world. The World order is constantly changing and china has put itself in a strong geostrategic position even in the time of Pandemic.
Recent China and Iran Pact have further paved the for the success of CPEC since Iran may join CPEC to make its oil available to China, Pakistan and Central Asian Muslim Countries.
“The inclusion of Iran in CPEC may further Isolate India in the region since it will be surrounded by all sides i.e. China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Pakistan may play a leading role in the region since America has lost a sincere ally in South Asia.”
Pakistan Army and Civilian Leadership played a pivotal role peacemaking in Afghanistan by bringing the Taliban on the negotiation table and signing the deal with the US providing safe passage to US Troops Withdrawal.
Turkey also emerging great power and may have a role in changing world order where US, UK may fade in history books as some international Policy Experts are of the view that Pandemic has provided a golden chance to countries like China to play a leading role as American hegemony has bitten the dust.
The upcoming Presidential Elections will carve the future of America as Trump Administration has completely failed to manage and control Covid-19 and even put curbs on new Testing Policy which is already under fire from his Rival Political Party the Democrats, especially the Presidential Election Nominee Joe Biden.
The November is just two months away and these Presidential Elections will be both violent and historical since the African American will support Democrats as they are fed up with Trump over racist thoughts especially brutal Killing of African American George Floyd that prompted worldwide Protests against racism and Police Brutalities.
“The Recent deal between Israel and UAE inked with efforts Donald Trump has irked both Arab and Non Arab Nations as recognition of Israel will have serious repercussions on the Muslim world. “
Efforts are being made by Turkey, Iran, Pakistan to form a new Block as Since Independence Pakistan has clear Policy that it will never recognize Israel until Establishment of Palestine State as per the wishes of People of Palestine.
Pakistan is the only Islamic country in the world that has reflected on its Passport that it is valid for all countries except Israel sending a strong message that It will never recognize Israel as it is an occupant.
Though at the moment, Pakistan is under pressure from the US to recognize Israel this will not happen any time soon. The statement of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has escalated Pak Saudi diplomatic relations as Qureshi criticized that OIC has not adopted the strong stance on Kashmir Issue. Though Army Chief along with ISI chief paid a visit to Saudi Arab to mend ways but Pakistan’s weak economic structure will compel it to bow down before Pressure.
China is playing on the front foot as it’s expedition inside Indian Controlled areas is advancing rapidly the escalation is high. The weakened structure of the US has given birth to new regional powers carving new world order as the US is waning due to wrong policies of Donald. The emerging situation is favouring China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.
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