The origin story of coronavirus seems well fixed: in late 2019 someone at the now world-famous Huanan seafood market in Wuhan (China) was infected with a virus from an animal.The rest is part of an awful history still in the making, with COVID-19 spreading from that first cluster in the capital of China’s Hubei province to a pandemic that has killed many.But there is uncertainty about several aspects of the COVID-19 origin story that scientists are trying hard to unravel, including which species passed it to a human. They’re trying hard because knowing how a pandemic starts is a key to stopping the next one.
Prof Stephen Turner, head of the Department of Microbiology at Melbourne’s Monash University, says what’s most likely is that virus originated in bats.But that’s where his certainty ends.On the hypothesis that the virus emerged at the Wuhan live animal market from an interaction between an animal and a human, Turner says: “I don’t think it’s conclusive by any means.”Scientists say it is highly likely that the virus came from bats but first passed through an intermediary animal in the same way that another coronavirus – the 2002 Sars outbreak – moved from horseshoe bats to cat-like civets before infecting humans.
Now coming to the original topic of our article is that what we have thought about to cope with this pandemic and what is its solution.With the emerging of the coronavirus (COVIC-19) in the world (developing and the developed countries) in general and Pakistan in particular, the negligence of those sitting at the helm of affairs in the health and education sectors has been fully and badly exposed. This principle equally applies to all countries of the globe. However the major purpose of this article is to highlight and pinpoint our negligence in these two sectors.
With regard to the precautionary measures against this abruptly coming pandemic, no one can claim he is going in the right direction but trying to avoid entering in the dark tunnel in his own way with apparently no chances of light in the end. In this situation, everyone is worried about himself and afraid of other, trying to avoid evenseeing other. The governments are advising its citizens to remain in isolation but masses are coming out not only for their earning but also for their habit of not staying indoor.
The common word we are hearingthese days are “lockdown” which is now haunting us since this pandemic started. Just think of the innocent Kashmiris, whose only fault is that they are demanding their birth right of freedom. The criminal ignorance of the world conscience on this purely human issue is deplorable and condemnable. Where are the champions of human rights and what are their criteria of raising voice for the oppressed people rather their motto is for working on the agenda of some particular group or community? Are they ignorant about the condition and plight ofKashmiris, who are facing this lockdown of the butcher Modi for the last many years?Now the whole world is opting rather crying for lockdown, requesting their citizens to go for isolation otherwise there would be strict and complete lockdown and economic disaster in the waiting.
Our present situation and condition of the education and health sectors remind us what Russian President Vladimir Putin has once said |when a Pakistani becomes rich, he prefers to get treated abroad and his children get education in some foreign institution, etc. This is a fact which no one can challenge or deny as our pitiable condition has gone to such an extent that others are painting a true picture of our education and health sectors.
The present situation has not emerged suddenly or overnight but it has come after giving many warning shots from the Allah almighty. The criminal ignorance on the part of our rulers has only produced an army of illiterates to be ruled by the ‘black Britishers’, claiming to be true and genuine heirs of the ‘white Britishers.’ The only way to keep the masses as slave is to keep them illiterate and avoid giving then better health facilities.
With regard to the cause of our poor response to coronavirus, one can easily say that we have totally neglected the health and education sectors in the past and still purposely ignoring them.See the budget allocations for these sectors from the day one of our independence and still the same practice is continuing. All the past governments and the present one are responsible for this debacle. There was some ray of hope with the coming to power by the PTI government but it too has committed the same mistakes of the previous governments. What a pity that it has cut the education budget (See the decrease in Higher Education Commission (HEC) universities budget and their condition to manage and run their affairs) and the health allocation, which too has been cut to half. In addition to this, the alarming situation is the manifold increase in medicines prices. Simple blaming others and finding faults in others is not an ideal and correct way out, instead we should find out where the shoe pinches. The previous rulers are the culprits of this poor nation and are facing the music but now you are assigned the duty of running the country’s affairs, repeating the same old rhetoric is illogical and causing more damage than giving benefiting. There could have been some logic of cutting budgets of these two vital sectors, if already they are consuming or eating out major chunkof our national exchequer.
Our all governments (Centre and provinces) are in a puzzle to decide about imposing strict lockdown or ease it. The Centre and Sindh war of wards is adding fuel to the fire. The reason is that if they impose strict lockdown, the poor and illiterate masses will starve and come out on roads. On the other hand, if they ease the lockdown and open all industries, then what would happen to our weak and fragile health system? In fact, the coronavirus is going to double the poverty rate in our country if immediate preventive measures are not taken. Are we waiting for that time to come? The sooner the better if we give the devil his ‘some’ due. It is more shocking that some quarters are burying theirs heads in the sand on this vital issue of the nation.It is also an open secret that the fear of death from coronavirus is more among the ‘haves’ and less in ‘have-nots’. It is time and the only solution lies in giving due share to the health and education sectors, otherwise the result is obvious and crystal clear before us.
The writer is Assistant Editor of Daily The Business, Lahore