As the world is witnessing a tough time fighting the COVID-19 coronavirus, governments throughout the world are finding it equally hard to encounter this deadly virus. Many countries have announced relief packages of billions of dollars and are taking every single measure to stop the further spread of the virus. It is time that the world puts in a combined effort, with a shared sense of responsibility, and confront the common enemy.
What has been observed is that China has not reported a single positive test in the last 2 days. On the other hand, Italy has reported 651 deaths in the last 24 hours. China and Italy have been the worst-hit countries so far. Italy has called in the military to enforce the corona lockdown following the incident. China was first to impose a lockdown when it completely quarantined Wuhan- a city of 11 million people closing industries, canceling flights and shutting down malls and public places. Not only raising huge funds, but China has also been able to tackle down the virus to a great extent because of proper public awareness with people taking necessary precautions. Workers and employers are now being paid for taking leaves. China moreover is now helping other developing nations by distributing masks there.
France has announced a 45 billion dollar package and went under a complete lockdown on 17th March with the government promoting the “Work from Home” model. The country has also banned recreational cycling. The United Kingdom has raised 330 billion dollars to fight this battle urging about 65000 retired doctors and nurses to return to work for the nation’s collective good. As many companies are on the verge of facing bankruptcy, it has decided to invest in them and help them recover. The nation hasn’t just stopped there but had also declared that it will pay 80% of salaries to all workers even if they couldn’t go and work.
The United States of America has raised about a trillion dollars wherein the citizens would be granted a free sample test, children would be given good and nutritious food and the citizens whose tests are found to be positive will be given leaves accordingly. The Canadian government too has announced a 480 billion dollar package, investing 3% of its GDP in this big battle. The people of Canada will be granted about 900 dollars at the end of 2 weeks. Already more than 8 lakh people have applied for the same.
What has been truly inspiring is the story of South Korea in tackling down the pandemic. Unlike other countries, South Korea didn’t undergo any shutdown, lockdown or quarantine. It is the only nation that is doing more than 10000 samples a day, with about 5200 samples on a population of 10 lakh people. Other nations average a meagre 74 samples on a population of 10 lakh. The government has prepared 50 drive-through stations for the sample test. If the test comes out to be positive, the cell phone records and credit card details of the person are taken and are used to find the places he visited. The information is shared on government websites so that other people living nearby would know and then can make themselves test at different testing centers. The patients who are quarantined are called daily by authorities to check their location and if not found at their place, are imposed with a penalty of 3 lakh won. What one can learn from South Korea is that if you have a good healthcare system and a proper planning team, you can actually work efficiently without causing panic and going under a lockdown.
India has so far reported over 400 cases of coronavirus. By investing, 10 million dollar package, the Indian government is asking people to go for social distancing. The Prime Minister had urged the people to follow a ‘Janta Curfew’ on 22nd March and salute all those who have been working day and night for us at 5 PM on the same day. The response was quite impressive as the public appreciated the move and only a handful of people were seen outside. The Prime Minister also called for a COVID-19 Economic Response Taskforce that will take decisions regarding the economic implications of the Coronavirus. Different state governments have also worked tirelessly with the Kerala government showing the strongest character. The Chief Minister of Kerala has announced a 20000 crore package, free distribution of cereals and regular addresses to the state on the state of Coronavirus. India is way behind in testing samples going by the average of a 1000 samples a day but the government is trying it’s level best to raise public awareness. Delhi and areas of Maharashtra are completely locked down till 31st March. Domestic flights have been canceled. Every step is being taken to ensure that the people stay at homes and this pandemic could not reach beyond stage 2.
The packages and lockdowns are only successful if the people support the government at all levels. It is not a battle that will be fought by any sword or gun, but by the strong will and moral character of people. It is time not just to help the government but help each other mentally and emotionally.