I am sure you guessed it, right?
This is the second time China has defaulted on a public health emergency – I am referring to the Wuhan Coronavirus public health emergency, which is spreading all over the world. SARS outbreak in 2003 was the other debacle which China mismanaged leading to a global impact.
I am surprised that China, a leader in pushing for world’s globalization, still does not get it. It is not only trade and economy which are global. Public health is a serious concern in a globalized world as well. 100% transparency is called for in revealing everything about what happened in Wuhan. China should not consider a public release of information as hurting the Chinese national pride, or a big cause of national embarrassment. That should not be the case at all.
Leading nations of the world along with WHO are lining up to help China out of this crisis, not only because China is a large and populous country, but also because international mobility calls for well-coordinated actions between China and other countries. China obviously would not like all the flights originating from Wuhan to be banned all over the world, right? China would also like to address the root cause of such an epidemic and squelch it, right?
Fortunately, China has moved ahead with international coordination, shutting down several cities, and has shared more information with WHO. The virus should be contained in the next few days hopefully.
The danger of coronavirus is that it does not show any kind of illness symptoms for several days, and then rear its head making detection all the more difficult. Health experts are calling the phenomenon of potential patients carrying the virus as “walking pneumonia”. Highly dangerous due to the infectious nature of pneumonia. Extensive tests are required to unearth the presence of the coronavirus infection in new patients not showing any symptoms.
Coronavirus has brought to light the linkage between the virus and seafood or wild animals. It is well known that Chinese locals enjoy all kinds of seafood and game meat, which are not usually consumed in most other countries. Such animal – virus link was also established in the SARS epidemic which also originated in China. Nothing much can be done about the accepted and well-ingrained practice of consuming such food in China, but the immediate government action will be to clean up the seafood and meat markets by culling all species.
More international coverage has been forthcoming over the past couple of days which should throw more light on this virus. Whether our respective countries are the unfortunate recipients of this virus or not (via returning travellers from Wuhan), it is absolutely critical to stay updated on the news developments pertaining to this virus and take whatever necessary precautionary measures as advised by respective public health authorities. No country is immune from globalization (except Donald Trump may be?!!!).
It is rather unfortunate that the virus has hit China during its most important national festival – the Chinese New Year (which started yesterday 24th Friday eve and will continue till 27th Monday). Billions of journeys are undertaken within China during this period (which typically extends for a full week to 10 days), and the government is struggling to control the people migration in light of the infectious coronavirus. Imagine trying to accomplish something like that in a country of almost 1.4B people. Wuhan itself has 11M people!
Well, we can only hope China will stop the virus on its tracks and stop it from spreading further. All the best to China and WHO!
25th January 2020