By - Paojakhup Guite
The novel Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 is clever enough in its arrival into the human existence. It came at the end-month of the year so as to make way through the New Year, because December, the last month, is a festive time when people across the world are hoping to enjoy in revelry. This will pave way for it to sneak into other regions of the world while the people are in their celebratory mood.
SARS-Cov-2 is a virus that is derived from Latin ‘corona’, meaning a ‘crown’ or a ‘wreath’, hence the name Coronavirus. SARS-Cov-2 and Coronavirus can be used interchangeably. The disease caused by this novel viral strain (nCoV) is called COVID-19 (WHO), which first appeared in Wuhan, China in late December, 2019. Concealing its identity, it disguised in the appearance of a Crown and put itself in the head of King-like Xi Jinping.
The Great Wall
Xi Jinping failed to instantly identify that it was a wrong crown. Literally, it was more than the Crown of Thorns. Before feeling the pain in the head, the crowning virus had had made a tragic foray into the Hubei Province. Only when his Subject-like citizens died in droves that had he realised that it was an invading enemy. Consequent upon this realisation, history came to his rescue reminding him of his preceding forefather-kings over thousand years ago who had been defensive in their strategy to deal with invaders. Therefore, taking clue of the “Great Wall of China”, built by Qin Shi Huang in the 2nd Century BC, Mr. Xi at the eleventh (XI) hour was in his conviction of “better late than never”. That, he braced up to protect the people of China from any further spread of the novel Virus by building novel walls: a two-month long lockdown, disruption of flight services (both domestic and international) and most importantly, the construction of an entirely emergency hospital in just 10 days, to name few. The ironical comparison is that unlike during the peak times of the Great Wall, this time around they don’t need arms and ammunitions. Rather, administrative machineries played paramount roles. Hence, the China’s idiosyncratic Bureaucracy was seamlessly proven as also holds true of its saying, “You do not waste good iron to make nails”- meaning, really talented people join the civil bureaucracy, not the Army. Bureaucracy traces its origin in imperial China.
However, unfortunately, the spill over effect is being felt beyond its boundaries across the continents. Though they claim victory over the Virus, yet they cannot bury it not to resurrect again. The fears and rumours about the Coronavirus are most conspicuous in its neighbouring countries like India. This psychological infection was exacerbated by the declaration of the Virus as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 11th March, 2020.
In India, the first imported confirmed case of the novel Cornonavirus was reported in the southern state of Kerala in January this year. Toeing the lines of China, India began to take several robust prophylactic measures to combat COVID-19. Similarly, India also began to build imagined protective Walls: a nation-wide Janata Curfew, 21-day lockdown, flight services cut, etc. So defensive was India that there were many scenes witnessing even physical Walls being constructed: physical barriers were constructed between inter-state, district, towns and village boundaries.
Of late, Government of India put a blanket ban on the export of Hydroxychloroquine, touted by Mr. Donald Trump as a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19. However, following a threat of retaliation by the US President Mr. Trump, India has decided to relax the export ban and thus, supply of the anti-malarial drug resumes, but partially.
COVID-19 has tremendously disrupted social life of humankind. Among the protective measures include lockdown restrictions and social distancing. Lockdown restriction is one of the most effective measures to throttle the spread of the deadly disease. To get yourself locked inside is to be bereft of outside mingling with fellow human beings and other social elements so that you can break the transmission chain of the novel Coronavirus. In this situation, one may argue that lockdown has proved Aristotle wrong of his famous aphorism, “Man is by nature a social animal.....” Yes, this home isolation, indeed, cannot carry for long, because human’s chain of sustenance would be disturbed to starvation. Even in this extreme situation, Aristotle’s statement is still irrefutable. To continue with their sustenance, human beings have to be, to a certain degree, social and mingle each other. Hence, Adam Smith has observed, “The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals”. Therefore, human beings are trading animals, according to the Scottish economist. So much so that WHO in its guidelines has prescribed for maintaining Social Distancing, that means not a complete ban of being social. A complete absence of socialness of human beings could lead to a complete ‘Social recession’. Even a partial social restriction (i.e., Social Distance) could lead to ‘Economic recession’ which is now being anticipated to inevitably happen post-COVID-19.
India is struggling hard to arrest the fast rising confirmed cases. An all-out lockdown is likely to continue, but with certain modifications and exceptions. This is a step in the right direction as it strikes a balance between containment measures and livelihoods. To stay indoor is not only to save your live, but also lives of the people. This will help us enormously to flatten the curve.
Citizens should abide by the stringent order of the Government. This is called ‘co-operation’. Co-operation is a unique attribute of humankind, unlike animals. Biologically, Co-operation of human beings thus, gives way to reproduction. Whereas, in case of animal this attribute is absent and, that’s why Dinosaurs are extinct today both in the wild and the zoo. Pessimists are afraid that COVID-19 is bringing humankind to the cusp of extinction or end of the world. In contrast, Yuval Noah Harari, a renowned Pholosopher-Historian in his article titled “The World After Coronavirus” in Financial Times dated 20 March says, “Yes, the storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive-but we will inhabit a different world”. He means to say that, evolution of organism human will continue and the present Homo Sapiens will be replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or automation technology. Therefore, let’s stay home until and unless the novel Coronavirus is defeated, so that the chain of humanity or evolution continues in the next generations to come. Remember, the virus is lurking you at your doorstep outside.