World is struggling to comprehend the new monster in the form of COVID-19. Though various authorities across the world are trying to contain the pandemic, yet it might take longer before this disease is finally stamped out and normal social and economic life restored.
In India the government authorities restricted the spread earlier than some other countries by announcing timely lockdown which, till now, has shown good results. There were three options before the government; one – take no action and allow the spread of the virus which would have resulted in larger deaths, collapse of health care system, besides huge emotional stress. The second was to immediately take preventive measures against the spread of the virus. These included identifying the patients, their contacts and preventing any ingress from outside the country.The third one was to undertake suppression strategy.The strategy adopted by government has worked well though the spread has not been fully contained. But going by the vast population of India and its size, we may take solace in taming the virus to some extent. The suppression strategy too has worked well so far. By taking measures like social distancing, etc., the curve has not been allowed to grow uncontrollably. This strategy was used by South Korea and they have reduced the mortality rate to less than 1%. However, we need to keep our fingers crossed as we have not yet reached the watershed.
COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan as early as in November 2019. As per some media reports, the authoritarian Chinese regime made all attempts to hide the same and hid the information of outbreak from the world. Earlier too, SARS broke out in China in November 2002, but the Chinese authorities informed the WHO only in February 2003. This time around they tried to hush up the COVID-19 issue. But its geographical spread forced them to acknowledge its outbreak.
It is pertinent to mention that American Society of Microbiology in its review in year 2007, had stated that there is a presence of SARS -CoV virus the in various horseshoe bats and its eating by Chinese people would be like a time bomb which may lead to deadly spread. Again, in the year 2003, the then DG of WHO, Harlem Brundtland, had asked the world to identify these SARS viruses, its outbreak and its spread from animal to human with special mention of Chinese wet markets from where the spread is believed to have started. However, world remained inactive on the exhortations of then DG WHO. Consequently, now the whole humanity is facing an existential crisis.
Large number of people across the globe are attributing the spread to China and some have even named the pandemic as Chinese Virus. This has led to the annoyance of the Chinese authorities. This Chinese Virus is also responsible for shattering the livelihood of people and the impending recession, which the coming months will witness. Needless to say that the world needs to take strong notice of such pandemics and ensure that guidelines issued by the United Nations are followed in future. We hope this pandemic will not prove as dangerous as Flu Pandemic of 1918, which was responsible for some 20 million deaths.
Nation Salutes Health Workers;
Amid the lockdown our people across the country have shown tremendous will power and character by supporting the initiative of the PM; first, by making the Janta Curfew a success and second,by following the strict instructions of lockdown. During the Janta Curfew on 21st March, people across the country followed the call of PM Modi and clapped for 5 minutes at 5 pm in the evening to express their gratitude to the various health workers, especially to those doctors, nurses, policemen, sanitation workers and other agencies who are working as frontline warriors against COVID-19. One could see the unity of thought and expression among the countrymen across the length and breadth of the country while expressing their thanks to them. Again, this unity was recreated on 5th April wherein countrymen followed the appeal of the PM and lit a lamp at 9 pm in the evening with a prayer to overcome COVID-19 pandemic. These two events are going to unite India further as everyone felt that he or she is not alone in this struggle for survival but whole nation is together to fight the pandemic. Similarly, while lighting the lamp one could see unison among the citizens at the same time across the country. Such scenes are very rare in the human history where people obey their leader in the resolve to fight the pandemic and stand together.
The nation witnessedVirat Swaroop in the form of awakened citizens coming together for a single cause, irrespective of constrains of geography.These two events are akin to those occasions of freedom struggle where the nation followed the words of Mahatma Gandhi to attain independence from the British yoke. With these two events the world will now see India with a different perspective of respect and awe. In the words of Swami Vivekananda;
“All the tortures and miseries of the world will pass over without hurting us, and we shall come out of the flames like Prahlada, so long as we hold on to this grandest of all our inheritances, spirituality.”
– Sunil Raina Rajanaka