Perhaps the only thing we know for sure now is that nobody knows what is coming.
Never before have we seen the wheels of the economy grind so comprehensively to a halt. The first working day after the lockdown in Sindh saw an announcement of a Rs1.25 trillion stimulus package for the economy, which makes it the largest such package ever announced in the country’s history.
The day before, the army spokesman — Lt. Gen Iftikhar Babar — described the virus as “the most serious threat we have faced in living memory.” The same day as the stimulus was unveiled, the State Bank announced a 1.5 percentage point cut in interest rates in an extraordinary monetary policy statement that was hastily organised out of schedule.
Nobody in the business and industrial community can remember a time like this. Not the sanctions following the nuclear detonations of 1998, or the earthquake of 2005 or the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 or the floods of 2010 carry many lessons to help us see and prepare for what might be coming. Key centres of decision-making in the federal and provincial government have an idea of what is coming — a tsunami of critically ill people landing up in public hospitals — but there are few models or projections to help us understand how far this will go.
The public health emergency that is brewing around the country is one thing. The lockdowns and the enormous cost that they will exact is another. Of course, there is no trade-off here, in the sense that we are not choosing between protecting lives or livelihoods. The two are linked and a pandemic is harder to control once it has crossed a certain threshold. Whatever their cost, the lockdowns are necessary to ensure that this public health emergency does not turn into an outright catastrophe.
THE COMING STORM
Between the lockdowns and the pandemic, where is the economy — already reeling from a recession — headed? At the epicentre of the coming storm will be the sheer number of critically ill people who will need varying levels of care, from quarantine to hospitalisation to intensive care. Though they are not making these numbers public, according to some sources within the decision-making centres, the provincial governments in Sindh and Punjab seem to be preparing to meet the needs of up to 80,000 such patients between four to eight weeks on. Whether they see this as the peak is not yet known.
Further out there will be the needs of the poor, or those who live just at or below the subsistence line in Pakistan. There are close to five million people identified in this group, whose particulars are available in the so-called National Socioeconomic Registry (NSER), which is the database that was the centre of the Benazir Income Support Programme.
After them there is the class of daily wagers. These are the mass of largely unskilled or low-skilled people who work in industry, services and agriculture, and rely on daily wages to meet their needs. Karachi industry circles estimate that up to four million daily wagers work in Karachi alone, whereas the government of Punjab is working with estimates of up to four million in the whole province. These people are most likely not part of the NSER database and do not show up in any formal sector employee or payrolls data either. These are some of the neediest people in times of lockdowns, yet they pose a big challenge when building a social protection programme for their income support needs because they are very difficult to locate.
In the stimulus package Rs50bn has been included specifically for this purpose, which is expenditure on top of what the provincial governments are already spending for the fight. Then comes the cost of income support and ration packs that have to be provided to the vulnerable sections, from the poor to the daily wagers and the unemployed. Even assuming Rs500 per day as the basic requirement for a household of 7, with 10 million deserving households, this means Rs5bn per day, or Rs150bn per month.
After them come the unemployed. These will include skilled workers, even lower management who might look like they live well (they will have an apartment and own a car), but have very little capacity to weather a few months without a paycheque.
These are some of the class of people who will also need help, to varying degrees, if the lockdowns are to persist for two months or more. If one looks only at the bottom two quintiles of our income population, there are close to 84 million people, living in 11 million households, according to some estimates. How many of these should the state have to look out for in the event of a prolonged lockdown?
Nobody knows how this ends. Will we succeed in defeating the virus, or will it simply work its way through the population and die or mutate into some less lethal form of its own accord? Will the summer temperatures impair its ability to transmit itself from one person to the next, to the point where it can no longer survive? Will a vaccine or a cure be found sooner than we think? Will cheap testing kits be developed soon enough that significantly boost our ability to fight this menace? Will there be a second, possibly third wave of infections like there was with the Spanish flu of 1918?
Nobody knows yet. But this analysis is based on the assumption that we are entering an intense and prolonged fight.
AN UNPRECEDENTED BLOW TO THE ECONOMY
If we are now in a prolonged fight, with no clear idea of how far we may have to lockdown the population to deny the virus any avenues for transmission, while we treat each infected person back to health, then the economy could end up taking a hit the likes of which it has never been called upon to take in the past. How might that work out?
Consider the question step by step.
First up is the direct cost of the treatment of the sick and protection of the frontline caregivers. In the stimulus package Rs50bn has been included specifically for this purpose, which is expenditure on top of what the provincial governments are already spending for the fight. Then comes the cost of income support and ration packs that have to be provided to the vulnerable sections, from the poor to the daily wagers and the unemployed. Even assuming Rs500 per day as the basic requirement for a household of 7, with 10 million deserving households, this means Rs5bn per day, or Rs150bn per month.
This is a lot of money, but it is still manageable for the state considering this is an emergency. The bigger challenge is developing the targeting technology to ensure that the right people are receiving these funds. At least three provinces have a team working on finding a way to do precisely this.
This may be the most urgent task before the state but it is far from the most expensive. If the total size of the stimulus package at Rs1.25 trillion is an indication, the government is gearing up for a very costly battle indeed. Costly enough to put an end altogether to the macroeconomic stabilisation that has been underway since July. The fight, it seems, will require us to spend all the fiscal buffers that have been built with so much pain and sacrifice over the past year.
Beyond the people, the state is now fielding increasingly restive voices from industry. Already reeling under crippling interest rates and collapsing demand, business enterprises that had seen their profits disappear since the adjustment began, now face the prospect of a mortal blow.
The biggest and most immediate impact of the lockdown is the halt in business operations. Out of 2,700 factories in Karachi SITE area — Pakistan’s largest industrial zone which accounts for almost 30 percent of the country’s exports according to the zone’s leadership — less than 50 were still operating on the first working day after the lockdown was announced. Those 50 were among the few that were considered essential services, primarily food and pharmaceuticals. All the rest were shut, with the workers sent home.
The port was still running but movement of cargo into and out of the gate was impaired because goods transporters could not be on the roads. Ships were berthed and dredging activity went on as normal. Containers were loaded and off-loaded, and customs processed Goods Declaration forms through the online system without requiring any physical presence, much to the relief of clearing agents. But labour was thin because many of them were stopped on their way to work and had a hard time explaining to the authorities that they were employees in an “essential services” industry. Trucks entering the province from upcountry were stopped at the provincial border, where a growing line waited for clearance to move, but nobody knew how to get this clearance and from whom.
How could law enforcement personnel determine which truck was carrying goods belonging to an “essential service” and which one is not? Is packaging material an “essential item”? What if it is necessary to package a food item in, such as ghee or edible oil?
The biggest and most immediate impact of the lockdown is the halt in business operations. Out of 2,700 factories in Karachi SITE area, less than 50 were still operating on the first working day after the lockdown was announced.
If the lockdowns are prolonged, the state will come under increasing pressure as more and more industries seek to have themselves declared as “essential services”. If food and pharmaceuticals are essential, then so are their vendors and suppliers of critical components and transporters. If a pharmaceutical firm needs to replace a spare part in a machine, then is transporting that spare part from one part of the country to another through a lockdown to be considered an “essential service” or not? How about manufacture or supply of that spare part?
Others will step forward saying that they may not be in the food or medicine business, but their products are essential in other ways.
All this happened on the first working day after the lockdown was announced. Soap manufacturers, for instance, demanded they should be counted under essential services since washing of hands on a regular basis was an essential part of the fight against the virus. What will people wash their hands with once the supplies of soap in the market run out?
Edible oil manufacturers found that, though they had permission to continue their operation, there was one vendor who supplied packaging material to them all, whose product was essential to their operation. Sure enough, that vendor also applied to the provincial government for permission to continue operations.
Textile exporters said they had orders in the pipeline which would be cancelled if delivery were not made, and valuable foreign exchange would be foregone for the country, so the federal government weighed in on the provincial chief minister to allow these exporters to complete their orders. Permission was granted.
But where does this loop end? Some argued that producing sheets for hospitals was an essential service. Others said supplying yarn and sizing services to a hospital bedsheet provider is an essential service. The fact is that, in a modern economy, even if it is as rudimentary as Pakistan’s, carving out some sectors for continuity of operations while shutting down others is simply not possible for a long period of time. Food can be described as an essential service and agriculture will be allowed to continue. But what about fertiliser distribution or pesticides?
DEALING WITH THE LOSSES
Another faultline will open once the question of absorbing the losses arising from the lockdowns has to be faced. Industry is already demanding support in return for their compliance with the lockdown terms, which include a provision that no lay-offs will be effected during this period. With the passage of time massive losses will accumulate in the form of deficits with the state, cash flows drying up with private business, and mounting requests for deferred payments and perhaps a moratorium on debt servicing on the banks.
These losses will trigger a contest where the three main constituents of our political economy — the state, big business and the citizenry — will vie to push the cost on to each other. Each will mobilise their narratives. The state will say “we are fighting the virus.” Industry will say “we are running our payrolls even though our plants are shut.” The exporters will add “we are bringing in valuable foreign exchange” — an argument that will ring all the louder because other inflows would have suffered and foreign debt servicing will remain in place.
There is one group that will come to this contest without a story, without a narrative of their own, and for this reason they will be vulnerable. That group is the banks. There is little to no public service function that creditors can claim they are performing, while their borrowers will loudly remind everyone that the banks made money all last year as the economy sank and manufacturers were weighed down by crippling interest payments as the State Bank hiked rates. They will point out that the banks made windfall profits even as the state and private manufacturers found their interest expenditure skyrocketing.
“You have made your money,” they will tell the banks, “even as we bled. Now it is time to give back because the country faces an emergency.” The banks will see mounting calls for deferments of debt service payments, some of which have already begun.
In the stimulus package announced by the Prime Minister on Tuesday, one of the promises was to arrange deferred debt service payments for manufacturers. It is not clear how the state intends to arrange for this, but in some measure, the contest has begun already.
In the months to come, this contest will escalate and the frenzied search for the resources with which to pay for the fight, as well as the expenses of carrying the people through it, will fuel a political economy that will consume increasing amounts of the state’s energy. With industry in lockdown, power consumption will fall dramatically, and as power capacity sits idle, some will wonder why the state should continue to pay capacity charges.
“Yes, it is in their contracts,” they will acknowledge. “But don’t these private power producers know that the country is faced with an emergency and needs every penny of its resources for the fight?” The stock market will continue its fall and brokers might try to mount an effort for another bailout, like they did last summer. It would be catastrophic if in the midst of this fight, the government were to acquiesce to their demand. Last summer, they acquiesced even though the state had begun its journey on a gruelling stabilisation effort that required massive sacrifice from the citizenry.
As the fight intensifies and the demand for resources rises, this contest might start to loosen some of the moorings of our financial system that have been held in place with iron bolts for decades. No government has asked for a moratorium on its domestic debt service obligations thus far, for example. But this time the government might ask for exactly that, for example, on the penalty interest charges on the circular debt or some other. The option to print money to pay its bills is always available for a government when dealing with local currency debt, but there are reasons why they might seek to shake down their creditors first before resorting to printing of money, if the need for resources intensifies.
This loosening has also already begun, with the extraordinary monetary policy statement announcing a rate cut of 1.5 percent on the first working day of the lockdown. I cannot remember the last time such an event occurred. The fact that it happened only days after the State Bank had already announced its monetary policy — in which steadfastly it refused to deviate from the orthodoxy of the textbook and did not lower interest rates even though inflation was falling, and the virus threat had already landed on Pakistan’s soil — only shows that serious arm twisting has already begun. More arms stand to be twisted because creditors’ interests are usually the first to be tossed overboard when the ship of state hits an iceberg or is attacked by pirates.
There is another faultline that may also get activated as this contest gets underway. This is the faultline within the state. The centre has already asked the provinces to bear some of the burden for the enhancements in the spending on BISP, whose beneficiaries will now receive an additional Rs1000 for the next four months as part of their entitlement. But the provinces are building their own social protection programmes and will seek a burden sharing with the centre themselves. Most likely they will arrive at an arrangement, since there is very little appetite for a fight among the elites who run the federal and provincial governments.
But provincial governments, that are also likely to feel the thirst for resources to wage the fight, cannot print money or seek any renegotiation with their creditors. They might seek an adjustment in the surpluses they are obliged to run under the National Finance Commission award. If so, this could end up meaning a significant renegotiation of the Fund programme, which is coming up for review in the next International Monetary Fund (IMF) board meeting in early April.
The timing is also critical in all this. If the fight peaks around mid- to late April, as the provincial governments expect, then the budget will be made in its aftermath. The aftermath is also likely to bring a severe recession, a scarred populace with no further appetite for absorbing economic pain for stabilisation, and continued requirements to spend in order to jump-start a traumatised economy.
Somewhere along this timeline, the government is likely to ask the IMF for a renegotiation of many of the terms of the programme. It will need to print money in massive quantities, break its budget deficit ceiling, slash interest rates and taxes.
It is unlikely that the Fund will simply refuse, since it will be clear from the beginning that Pakistan has no choice but to undertake these severe actions. But it is equally unlikely that Pakistan will find the resources from abroad to stabilise its economy without pain. That is unless ‘friendly countries’ like China and Saudi Arabia once again come to the rescue. Such a rescue will be required at that point, but who has the appetite, and how far they are willing to underwrite Pakistan’s return to normalcy, will remain to be discovered. A lot will hang in the balance as that question is explored.
THE DAYS AHEAD
Unless the economy sees massive supply disruptions, enough to hit food shipments, it is likely that March and April will see price deflation much faster than expected. Inflation was already on a downward and accelerating trajectory but, with industry closed and private consumption focused primarily on essential items and healthcare expenditures, prices are likely to see a sharp fall. This will create the space for sharp interest rate cuts, as well as large printing of money if necessary to pay for the continuously rising bill that the fight will present.
The IMF will need to be persuaded that these steps are necessary, and if printing of money is going to destabilise prices once again, the leadership could make the decision that they will worry about retiring that overhang once the fight is over.
Nobody in the business and industrial community can remember a time like this. Not the sanctions following the nuclear detonations of 1998, or the earthquake of 2005 or the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 or the floods of 2010 carry many lessons to help us see and prepare for what might be coming.
An extraordinary moment has now opened up. Business as usual will not work. It will take every ounce of creative energy and close coordination to wage this fight. The government has missed its chance to contain the pathogen at an early stage, when it was pouring into the country through travellers arriving from foreign lands. It failed to wage a campaign of awareness about the dangers posed by the virus and how best the citizenry could protect itself. It then failed to take decisive steps to order social distancing and lockdowns when they were most called for.
The result was the second and third tiers of the state’s leadership had to take up the fight. The provincial chief ministers, chief justices of the Sindh and Islamabad High Courts, individual MNAs, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health and others worked in their respective domains to build some sort of a bulwark against the entry and spread of the virus. But now it is here, and it has spread, and a battle on a wide front has become inevitable. This battle will take resources, and the search for these resources will define a lot of the state’s behavior through it all.
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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