PM Modi’s decision to lockdown the entire country came at the right time and will be largely instrumental in bringing down the spread of COVID-19 cases. He needs all appreciation and accolades for acting very swiftly and decisively in his will for containing the spread.
But here is a question as to how long it will take to quell the menace? A random answer maybe three to four months maybe a year or maybe even more than that. This question is not loud for India only, but equally big for all the countries around the globe. To get the answer, we have to go back to December 2019 when the outbreak of a new Coronavirus affecting and killing people in Wuhan in Chana was officially accepted by Chinese Govt. Later, the world Health Organisation (WHO) declared the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreaks a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020 and a pandemic on 11 March 2020.
China has historically not been open to the world in exchanging vital information though it took a number of steps such as locking down entire province of Wuhan immediately but did not share the real threat, rather it showed resentment over the action taken by a few countries disconnecting flights from it. WHO too took this very lightly and did not guide other countries in time and took a hell lot of time to declare the spread of coronavirus a pandemic. Even state heads of Russia, Europe and America did not act in a coordinated manner. US President Donald Trump termed the virus to be killing much fewer people than a common flue kills every year, showed a little concern and wasted time though the alarm was clearly visible from China. Such negligence and unawareness of the country’s top officials led to a situation that has become very difficult to handle even after lockdowns and seizure of most of the activities worldwide.
The question is what led these learned and competent leaders not taking the issue seriously? The answer is, ok it’s spreading in a far-flung country and will take so much time to get a spread within our country, or a few cases that can happen shall be dealt with, no issue. An old day thinking by the leaders when the distances were long and the reach was not so easy. But in today’s context, the distance is a myth. China is only a few hours away from most parts of the world as air travel has become so common. Apart from faster and easier means of transport, increased interdependence of economic activities of the countries and booming tourism industry across the globe, traveling from one country to another country has increased many by a fold in the past couple of decades since wide use of the internet was adopted by the people and the businesses. This fact was ignored by one and all. After noticing the disaster and planning for mitigation, countries had to think in a global perspective and not in a piecemeal manner.
Now what has happened cannot be rolled back. What is disturbing is that the world leaders are even now trying to tackle the issue separately and there has been no emphasis on the need of a concerted effort. Do the countries think of isolating themselves from the rest of the world forever? If not, what will happen? The affected people coming from other countries will spread the virus again as it is happening in China. So, until all the countries combine and chalk out a contingency plan to combat, it will be rather impossible to close the issue with minimum damage to the world economy. PM Modi, who has been a well-known world leader with excellent relationships with heads of prominent countries in the world, should take lead and drive the world leaders to a single forum for deciding a contingency plan to save humanity from this pandemic, fast.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.