New World Order
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, or the coronavirus pandemic, the world is passing through the most disastrous phase it has ever seen. The on-going calamity can simply be termed as the mother of all crises as it has stopped the entire world in its tracks, with all public and private events either postponed or cancelled and daily life activities severly affected owing to prolonged economic shutdowns, social distancing and containment measures. In terms of human loss, the countries with the most robust economies and impressive socio-economic indicators seem to have suffered the most. The World Health Organisation (WHO) warns that the most-affected countries have just entered the early stages of the fight against the novel virus. Despite the fact that many countries are gradually lifting lockdown restrictions to revive their economies, the current coronavirus crisis will not end any time soon, warns the WHO. In addition to that, the World Bank and the IMF have rightly raised the caution that the coronavirus pandemic presents a very serious threat to the stability of the global financial system and the continued economic shutdowns could have multiple impacts for both developed and poor countries in the form of economic deflation, a loss of output owing to increasing unemployment, permanently-shifted supply chains and a re-evaluation of regulation. No country can afford to safeguard public health at the expense of its economic stability. The global oil industry has also run into a crisis of Herculean proportions. If the viral disaster persists for a longer period, many developing and underdeveloped nations, particularly in Asia and Africa, are feared to be reaching the point of economic collapse and even famine.
However, the international community looks to be still divided and both the United States and China are holding each other responsible for the human and economic devastation. President Donald Trump calls Covid-19 the “Chinese Virus” and one White House official has named it the “Kung Flu”. Trump has even gone to the extent of suspending funding to the WHO for its pro-China approach of ‘covering up’ the coronavirus outbreak. The world is witnessing unprecedented times and it is no more the same place as it used to be just a few months before. Grappling with the onslaught of the deadly virus, many well-developed countries seem to have hit the panic button. Many questions are being raised about the so-called ‘unity’ of the European Union and the United States, the world’s superpowers with high defence budgets. They appear to be totally defenceless in containing the ‘invisible enemy’ to the point of its total annihilation. The world’s renowned doctors and health experts are in the initial stages of finding a coronavirus treatment or measures for its prevention in terms of a vaccine or other medicine. Resulting in extraordinary happenings, the contours of this change suggest the fact that a New World Order is emerging.
In the beginning, the coronavirus was not taken seriously by most countries. The virus first emerged in the city of Wuhan in China in December, 2019. Unfortunately, many nations, including those of South Asia, seem to be in a denial mode and their governments are quite hesitant in imposing a full-fledged total lockdown for long to contain the virus. As shown by China, the battle against Covid-19 should be fought on multiple fronts, but for many countries the calamity has taken additional time to put in place strict measures to fight the spread of the pandemic. The lack of coordination between Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments has been exacerbating the situation to untenable proportions. Pakistan had recorded over 200 coronavirus deaths and registered more than 10,000 cases by April 22. The country has thoughout been in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and is virtually sitting on a time bomb that will detonate if safety measures are not taken urgently and SOPs not followed religiously. There is a dire need to continue with the lockdown till patterns for the spread of Covid-19 are well-established. However, there is no satisfaction in the way the Pakistan government has been handling the outbreak and much more effort is required to contain the spread of the virus. When doctors in Karachi and Lahore warned of the impending dangers and the lack of facilities to tackle a wider spread of the virus, alarm bells must have started ringing in Islamabad as well as in all the provincial capitals.
Syed Jawaid Iqbal
President & Editor in Chief