Global unity needed to combat COVID-19

by Md Shafiqul Islam | Published: 00:04, Jun 06,2020 | Updated: 00:08, Jun 06,2020


People were face masks at a night market in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, on June 3. — Agence France-Presse/STR

DEATH toll is increasing day by day in the world panicked by COVID-19. People dying of the disease are deprived of the love and care of their closest relatives as there is a risk of infection from the dead body. Conspiracy theories centring on the spread of the novel coronavirus are prevalent. For an example, China says that the novel coronavirus is a US political strategy and biological weapon. On the other hand, the United States thinks that it was created by China because COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China. Iran is also researching to establish whether it is a biological weapon.

An Italian physician has claimed that the novel coronavirus spread to his country before China. He also had his arguments supporting his statement. Novel coronavirus had begun to spread to Lombardy, Italy before the Chinese were affected. He and a group of physicians warned the government of the epidemic in time. Their warning was not considered by the government sincerely, which is why Italy perhaps had to pay a heavy price. The statement of this Italian physician created a new debate. Turkey has claimed that no precautionary measures were taken after a man with coronavirus infection symptoms was admitted to a hospital in Cardona, 60 kilometres off Milan, on February 14. As a result, all the villagers including the hospital staff were infected with the virus.

US president Donald Trump said that this would not have happened if China had not hidden information on the infection in the beginning. He directly blame the Chinese government. Trump’s accusation is continuing — his country is endangered by a virus coming from a foreign country. A few days ago, he used to crack jokes about the novel coronavirus. He did not address the COVID-19 pandemic properly. He made it clear that those who spread the novel coronavirus would be held accountable in right time. The United States thinks that it would not be in danger if there was no conspiracy.

The new coronavirus was first diagnosed in the United States in January. In March, Trump said that the virus caused a seasonal disease. In the United States, the number of people infected with COVID-19 is rapidly increasing but unfortunately the number of people recovering is fewer. A lack of awareness on part of the citizens is a prime cause of COVID -19 spread in the United States.

An Indian media house says that one million people died of the disease in China. But according to government data, the number of death from the novel coronavirus infection was around 3,400 in China till April 12.

Canada was very cautious and the number of victims was, therefore, low. There was a high risk of infection in Canada because the virus was more prevalent in the area, according to experts. Italy neglected the contagious characteristics of the virus in the first place and had to face a great number of death. If Italy, like China and South Korea, was careful in time, the number of of COVID-19 patients could be less.

The United Nations is a major platform but has not taken any significant action. It should have played a significant role in dealing with COVID-19. Now the centres of COVID-19 are the United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. The number of COVID-19 people is increasing rapidly in these countries.

When the Spanish flu pandemic hit Europe and spread to parts of Central and East Asia in 1918, there was a little scope of sharing information globally. Eventually, the world reportedly lost tens of millions of lives due to the flu pandemic. The world now enjoys both global health governance system and bilateral and multilateral inter-state relationships, facilitating nations to support each other and share technological resources.

Economic experts point out that the world will have to face a massive economic crisis because of COVID-19. China, recognised as the world’s largest producer and second largest economy, has hardly waited for its own COVID-19 epidemic to be normalised; it has already begun to extend its hand of friendship. Chinese medical experts equipped with their own research and experiences of the epidemic are helping other countries where the infection has become severe.

China and Cuba have sent teams of physicians and medical specialists to Europe to join the frontline battle against the pandemic. India, despite its own struggle against COVID-19, has given the United States a consignment of medicine. Even Turkey is supplying medical equipment, masks and hand glove, for Israel to battle COVID-19. China has already supplied testing kits, masks and medical equipment for Bangaldesh.

World leaders are still making controversial statements. For instance, Mexican governor thinks that poor people will not suffer from the novel coronavirus. At present, 80 countries have 1,000 or more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients. The total infected countries or regions are 220. So, if leaders of those countries take hardline initiatives right now, the world may be protected from such a pandemic. All leaders should introduce integrated or regional action by holding virtual meetings online. However, the initiative taken by India’s prime minister of holding a virtual meeting of SAARC countries was a right decision.

There was a lack of cooperation between China and other developed countries in the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency because a kind of mistrust exists between China and the west. Even some countries tried to take economic advantages. There may be a number of factors behind the COVID-19 pandemic threat. The failure of world leaders to come up with proper insights and initiatives is a special factor.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and the rest of the infected countries have to contain COVID-19 as China and Japan did. China, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea were attacked in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are now slowly showing signs of recovery, with a reduced number of fresh infection. So, all the countries will have to adopt integrated policies and programmes, setting aside any geopolitical and international enmity. All countries must ensure global unity to fight COVID-19.


Md Shafiqul Islam, is an assistant professor of accounting and information systems in Jaitya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Mymensingh.

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