By Atique Ur Rehman
According to WHO update 184,976 people have been affected in 159 countries with almost 7529 fatalities due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Europe is the epic center; however, the pandemic has spread to 159 countries world over and spread continues. The world is so helpless that since the outbreak of Coronavirus, only figures are being shared. Lockdown of cities is the only major achievement so far. The number of tested positive in Pakistan has surged up to 259. Sindh is the most hit province so far followed by Punjab, 26, Balochistan, 16, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 16, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), 5 while 2 cases have been diagnosed in the Federal Capital (These figures were recorded at the time of writing of this article).
The mismanagement at Taftan, presence of over 750 suspected pilgrims at DG Khan and hundreds of similar cases who returned from Iran and were not quarantined at GB may not be a good news to contain Coronavirus in Pakistan. On the morning of 18 March, another 671 pilgrims were on their way from Taftan to Sindh for quarantine. Prime Minister Imran Khan in his televised address on 17 March was right to call for a collaborative approach by the government and civil society to fight Corona. For a country like Pakistan which has inadequate national resources to fight this pandemic such lapses at the level of administration and noncompliance of health care instructions by the public will seriously affect the situation. Insufficient “risk communications” strategies at the government level for how and when the public should have been informed and lack of cooperation by the public due to their own problems to avoid isolation is the biggest hurdle in our social set up. Shortages in the number of health care providers, medical equipment and capacity of hospitals are administrative failures at the governance level. The situation will worsen because the vaccine has yet not been produced which could have reduced the spillover.
Like every crisis, Coronavirus presents a challenge and also an opportunity for the world and nation-states alike. Powerful countries in the center, the periphery of the center and periphery of the periphery are equally exposed. Societies that are most civilized and those not that developed are no less in danger. The governance models at the global and domestic level have been put to test their efficiency. The countries with devolution of power and resources at the district and county level are able to face this dilemma in a much better way. Lockdown of metropolitans across the globe and the long queues outside departmental stores in the west shows that the response of humanity in crisis is the same, no matter they are in Africa, Asia, and Europe. The Coronavirus crisis has put a question mark on all development made during the last century whether this development was in the right direction or it was merely a progression of multi-national corporations. The Post Pandemic period is going to be even worse than what the world is facing today. It will be equally hard and challenging for developing as well as developed nations and multi-national corporations to sustain the economic crisis. The World is about to witness an era that they had not visualized in their assessments. Europe might be the most affected region due to Coronavirus. In the 2008 economic recession also some of the European countries were most affected.
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The New Global Order, alliances, and social contracts among state versus its citizens are in the offing. The debate will not settle down on ’Globalization’ or ‘Nationalism’ but much beyond. The US is struggling to cope up with the situation. According to WHO dashboard update number of confirmed cases in American has surged up to 3536 but no fatality has been reported yet. POTUS has termed it ‘Chinese Virus’ in his tweet on 16 March while China is blaming the US soldiers for bringing this virus to Chinese land. China has already announced the recovery of the last affected person in Wuhan, the city from where the virus erupted and send a team of its doctors to Italy to help the affected people. After China where almost 3700 people died due to the virus, Italy and Iran are the worst-hit countries.
Multinational Corporations may lose their control over states and the global order may go back to nation-states and politics to take a decision the direction of the collective good of humanity and corporations. The focus of developments might shift from economic prowess towards the collective good of humanity. An unrest will be seen among corporations and nation-states which will affect the societies. The role of Communities will become paramount in the future for a stable societal system.
Fortunately, the countries in Africa and South Asia are least affected so far. Malnutrition is one of the biggest reasons for the spread of infectious diseases. If the virus approaches developing and underdeveloped countries, the crisis may thicken in the coming days instead of reducing. The World is in the middle of the crisis and all fingers are crossed that how nature plays its role for the future of humanity.