For the time being, humanity is again confronted with a novel death-dealing virus namely the Coronavirus. Its origin is said to have been the live animal market in Wuhan city of China’s province Hubei, where the first person, reportedly, got infected with this virus from an animal. According to Professor Stephen Turner of Melbourne’s Monash University, “viruses of this kind are circulating all the time in the animal kingdom”. This revelation lends credence to the fact that the virus would have surely been transferred from an animal.

In the following months of June and July 2020, the world witnessed an exponential increase in COVID-19 infected cases with over two million cases and 100 thousand confirmed deaths in the United States alone. Pakistan has still been fortunate enough with 226,000 cases and a little over 4700 deaths reported so far. Only the countries that imposed early curbs on travelling and closed down their borders for foreigners have been successful in tackling this virus.

The most appropriate example is that of New Zealand whose Premier Jacinda Ardern celebrated zero no new cases in her country a while ago. Actions taken timely have, undoubtedly, helped countries overcome the damage caused by this virus. Given the story published in the ‘Time’ magazine under the rubric of “Warning: the world is not ready for another pandemic” by Bryan Walsh in 2017 and a myriad of other predictions by the virologists, this novel pandemic was bound to hit. A WWF says 60-70 percent of new diseases that have emerged in humans since 1990 came from wildlife. The report goes on to point out that the menace of new Wildlife-to-human diseases will be many folds higher in the years to come. Despite these warnings, citizens didn’t seem to care. Humankind continued to suffer from various diseases like SARS, Ebola virus, AIDS and the Zika virus, all of which originated from animal populations.

During the course of this pandemic, South Asian countries have seen a halt in tourism. The demand for garments has collapsed and most importantly the supply chains have seen the worst kind of disruption. High scale layoffs in these unprecedented times have also left countless people floundering. Therefore, it was rightly foretold by the World Bank that the destitute would be more affected by the crisis. Apart from fiscal woes, this pandemic has also had its toll on mental health, affecting people from every age group with unfathomable depression alike.

USAMA MALICK,

Lahore.