Mushtaq Hurra

COVID19: The world has come to a virtual halt!

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Corona Virus is assuming dangerous proportions with almost more than five thousand souls falling prey to it, and more than one hundred twenty thousand  infected, including some big names in politics and sports- noteworthy among them are Spanish and Canadian prime ministers’ wives, cricketer Kane Richardson and many others. China, Italy and Iran are the worst hit countries by the deadly virus. The scare is spreading like a wildfire across the globe with people confining their Social transactions and business ties. Even authorities have encouraged Social distancing. Social media could have been an effective way to aware masses about the Dos and Don’ts regarding the COVID19 mass awareness but the platforms add to the worries of commoners by spreading rumours and apprehensions.

Many countries have closed down educational institutions and other public offices.  Public get-togethers have been banned. Advisory after advisory is issued to help people to take precautionary measures. World health organisation (WHO) has already stated it a pandemic. There is a lot of panic round the globe among common Masses. People are scared of getting the deadly infection. People have limited their outdoor activities. Italy has locked down the whole country which won it a lot of appreciation from different quarters including world health organisation but it is not still able to tackle the situation effectively. The number of deaths here has risen to fifteen hundred. Even, Spain has also locked down the whole country to minimize the spread of the deadly virus. Being an Islamic country, Iran has banned all the public get-togethers including congregational prayers and other religious gatherings also. But, the haplessness of the country to fight the pandemic, is quite vivid.

Though the number of infected persons in India is below the two hundred figure mark but there is scare and uneasy calm over the whole country. Many states have shut down their educational institutions and other places like gyms, cinemas, Malls etc… But, is it enough to battle the deadly pandemic? Well, Indian government should look at the other parameters of the pandemic. The number of testing centers in India is very meagre. Would my readers believe that there is no testing lab in our own erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir to detect the infected people. Samples of suspected are sent outside Jammu and Kashmir for laboratory examinations. Only a few thousand people have been screened so far. Let Indian government import help from developed nations like USA and UK. Indian government should not feel any sort of shame or insult to ask the world for its help. The situation is still not alarming in India, so it is better to nip the evil in the bud.  India is a country of villages, and we know the level of individual and collective hygiene in our villages. The healthcare system of India seems to be geared up fully but can it tackle the situation if any arises, is a billion dollar question. Our healthcare system is already in the line of fire for its fragility and inability to tackle the flow of patients. Now, God forbid, if the outbreak turns massive, how will it combat it? Common People seem to be scared enough.

The scare has badly hit the global economy. Oil prices are down. Energy sector is about to face the worst decline since 1991. Trade transactions between different countries have almost ceased. Different global sensex and bullion markets have suffered losses worth billions of dollars. China’s automobile sector has witnessed 80% downfall in sales and its export sector is down by almost 18%. According to reports, aviation sector of the world could suffer losses worth 63 billion dollars to 113 billion dollars during 2020. This amount is exceedingly high. Film market could loose five billion dollars. Hotel and restaurant sector may suffer badly to the deadly virus. According to a New York based private financial, software and data company Bloomberg Economics, the global  full year GDP could fall to zero in case of a worst pandemic scenario.

Major economies which had strong trade links with China may witness huge losses especially South Korea, Australia and Japan. China is world’s second largest economy, so, it is obvious that the recession in China will affect the world particularly those countries which have business ties with it. Major European economies will face dislocation because the countries will adopt restrictive measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus. United Nations has projected that the foreign direct investment flows could fall between 5 to 15 percent to the lowest level since the 2008-09 global economic crisis.

Global tourism sector is facing the tantrums of this deadly virus. United Nations states that this industry will bear the hardest brunt of the outbreak.  Most of the countries have cancelled the visas of almost all the foreign tourists. US state department has warned its citizens to cancel their plans to visit other countries. Tourists across globe have cancelled their plans to visit their favourite destinations. Even pilgrimage tourism is about to face the heat. A few days back,  Saudi Arabian government had suspended the circumambulation of holy Khana-Kaabah for some time though it was resumed after a few days. If the deadly outbreak is not controlled well in time, the annual Haj pilgrimage may also be cancelled. Hotel industry seems to be badly affected globally.

Global sports events are no exception to the impact of COVID 19. Different sports events have either been postponed or curtailed. Ongoing Pakistan super League ( PSL ) is playing with empty stadiums. Most of the foreign players have flown back to their respective countries. South Africa cricket team had recently come to India to play a three match one day series, with its first match being abandoned in Daramshala Himachal Pradesh, the rest of the series has been cancelled by BCCI. Cancellation threats are looming large on the world’s largest T20 tournament i.e Indian Premier League (IPL ) . The tournament was scheduled to commence from the 29th of this month but it has been postponed till April 15. If the COVID 19 outbreak spreads further, the tournament is all set to be cancelled. The shadows of cancellation are looming large on different European and global mega sports events. This year, we are supposed to have world’s largest sports carnival i.e Olympics. God knows better if the world can enjoy the sports festival or not.

Even education of children is badly impacted. With most of the schools already closed across different countries, thousands of students have left their colleges and universities amid the scare. Multinational companies have begun to witness low attendance of their employees. Let us pray that the pandemic ends very soon so that humanity can take a sigh of relief. May Allah SWT have mercy on His slaves across the globe!

The Writer is Teacher and a Columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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