At the time when the entire world is literally fighting to survive the epidemic of Corona-virus, a particular section of Indian society is fighting an imaginary threat of a non-existing NRC. At the time when different countries are cancelling events like trade fairs, exhibitions and carnivals to avoid crowed places, this particular section in India has been promoting a mass “gathering” for over two months in Shaheen Bagh. The virus must be really feeling insulted and ignored. People in India give a damn about this virus, “the liberal thug life.”
Infact the very same section of society, during demonetization, when people had to stand in a queue for some time cried foul, have absolutely no gumption about the people blocking the street for over two months now. There is no inconvenience to any body, the baby who died in this useless event is deemed “shaheed” or a martyr. The very same section of society saw a dictator and a fascist in Indian government when it put Kashmir valley in isolation to contain terrorism, but have absolutely no issues with Chinese government putting more than 40 million people of Wuhan in Quarantine for over two months now; people literally lost their employments and are living on the savings and god knows how, with minimal food and water supply. I have not heard any statements like “The virus is still spreading, how did making a prison of the city help?” I haven’t heard anyone from this section complaining about the freedom of those people at all, including the Indians that live there.
Don’t worry, I am not going to continue this rant in this article, I don’t want to and I won’t talk about why muslims and dalits in India have been allowing this particular section of the society including some politicians to simply use them for their political/financial/other benefits for decades. I am writing this article because there are real corona-virus threats that might have been overlooked because of this circus that has been going on in Delhi for over two months now. In this polarized environment, you can’t say that a community might increase the country’s vulnerability. Can you? The questions that I am going to put up here should have been asked by the pathetic opposition that Indian parliament contains and the mainstream media. They have lost their ability to question the government on issues other than the ones related to castes or religions. And later if the government tries to answer them, they say “the government is talking hindu-muslim only” and if the government doesn’t, they say “they have 303 seats and don’t care”. Its like if it is heads I win and if it is tails you lose.
So, back to n-covid19.
When it comes to India’s preparedness for the virus, the very first thing that you would hear is that every one that flies form China, Hong-Kong or Thailand etc. is screened. That’s nice, but what about other means of transport? Is there a mandatory screening done at ports for the sea routes and for land based transportation (rail and road)? And especially for the ones leading to Pakistan or other similar countries?
Before you raise your brows reading “especially Pakistan” let me finish. Feel free to judge me once I am done with what I have to say.
Pakistan has been quite reluctant in evacuating its students stranded in Wuhan. Even after country wide protests (protests unlike the Shaheen Bagh, but the real ones) by the parents to get their children back, Pakistan government is still not moving forward with bringing them back. Why?
The Pakistan’s president quoted a Hadith “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it, but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim) for not bringing the students back. However, this is just to fool its people, the real reason is that Pakistan has an underdeveloped quarantine requirements and protocols as also claimed by a virologist at Lancaster University, Muhammad Munir. Although, WHO is now helping them to set up the isolation wards. Maybe in the near future they will bring them back.
In addition to this, Pakistan had no labs to test coronavirus. Maybe that’s why there isn’t any confirmed case yet “no test no result no case“. Although, they are receiving test kits from various countries as we speak now. This becomes a critical piece of information because there were more than 20,000 Chinese personnel working in Pakistan. Many of them went to China for their new years, some of them came back and some are still to come. The Chinese government came to know about the virus outbreak before December 1, 2019 and they try to contain it by themselves at first. It is the rest of the world that came to know about it after the new year when the Chinese government failed to curb the epidemic and the travel restriction came in existence towards the end of January. There were approximately 5 million people who traveled out of china before the travel restrictions were in place. How many of them are in Pakistan?
It is simply too late to contain the virus in Pakistan now. I don’t care about what happens there, but I do care about what happens in India. Indian authorities screen everyone that flies in from China, but not from Pakistan. Is screening being done for the trucks that are used in bilateral trade via road/rail? Are the pilgrims who are using Kartarpur Corridor being screened? Virus doesn’t check the purpose of visit. This virus gets transmitted even before the symptoms are visible. How is anybody going to know if the person is carrying the virus in his body. The thing is virus doesn’t show any paper “look here I am residing in this body try and stop me” #KagazNahiDikhaenge. A perfectly healthy person can be a carrier to this virus and he might not even fall sick, people with compromised immune system are more vulnerable to this virus.
Moreover, this condition is going to get worse because Pakistan is going to open China-Pak border (Khunjerab Pass) that remains close from Nov 30 to March 30 because of extremely cold weather and heavy snow. Once this is open, the trucks would flow in and in with them the virus. When most of the nations are not flying to China even today, Pakistan had been running flights since Feb 3 and now it will be roads as well. Infact as an example, as soon as the outbreak happened in Italy, Austria shut its train going to Italy. Pakistan may have its own reasons to stick with its only all weather friend, it could be the excessive economic damage or China forcing Pakistan, I don’t need to know. But what is Indian Government doing to stop the virus coming to India via Pakistan and other similar countries? Shouldn’t the human contact between the these nations be restricted till the time this menace comes to an end?
I was extremely proud when I read that India is helping its neighbors in testing the samples and also helping them evacuate their citizens from Wuhan. This pride saw no limits when I heard Mr. Ravish Kumar Indian MEA spokesperson saying that India will airlift Pakistani students stuck in Wuhan if Pakistan government sends a formal request. However, having said that, I don’t see any process or preparation to disinfect India’s own public infrastructure. Are we prepared to disinfect the country from the inside. For example the currency bills or the public transport in case virus do end up inside the country? Chinese banks are disinfecting the bills to stop virus from spreading. I think Indian government should do something like demo again (don’t take this line seriously, I just said it). Although, it would kill two birds with one stone; one, the bills would recalled and disinfected, and second, Shaheen Bagh would get sterilized. I know they have been saying that almighty Allah has been providing them for the delicious food, the daily wages, the DJ and the fun time for the last two months, but I know there also some human beings using cash for the purpose. Cash ban and the protest ends in less than a day.
Prevention is better then the Cure. It would be extremely difficult to contain the virus if it reaches any of the densely populated regions in India. Just imagine the kind of mess that particular section of society in India would create if Indian government start putting towns in quarentiene; their livelyhood runs on making mess.
These are some of the questions that were bothering me for some time and I think coronavirus should not be taken lightly even though, we don’t have any cases in India. Maybe the opposition parties are just waiting for some unfortunate events to occur and then they will get a point to corner the government.
Before I leave, I would like to share some more information about the virus available so far:
- novel coronavirus 2019 or covid19 is said to originate from bats and reached humans via Pangolin (as per the researches conducted so far).
- This virus belongs to the same family of virus (SARS-COV – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that originated from Bats and spilled over to humans via Civets and MERS-COV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) that also originated from Bats and spilled over to humans via Camels.
- One major difference from the previous virus, in SERS and MERS is that this time the virus transmit even before the symptoms are visible or in other words before the person carrying the virus falls sick. This is why it is very very difficult to contain the virus and is spreading quite fast, already 80,000 confirmed cases and more than 2500 dead.
- This virus in general is transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Or if a person comes in contact with some thing that is contaminated by the virus.
- People who are in close contact with animals (read meat industry) and people who are in contact with the sick (read healthcare workers) are at most risk.
- Symptoms for this virus are similar to influenza virus, cold, cough, shortness of breath etc. However, this could also lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.
- There is no specific vaccine or medication for this virus as of today.
- There are standard hygiene measures to avoid spreading of the virus, they include: covering your mouth while sneezing or coughing with a tissue or a mask or your elbow, avoiding close contact with the people who are ill, using masks, washing hands with soap or alcohol based hand rub and staying home if you are unwell.
Thanks for reading!!! Wish every one safe and sound health!!!