COVID-19, the disease caused by a “novel” strain of coronavirus family, is wreaking havoc across the globe. Consequently, many countries have elevated the COVID-19 pandemic from a public health issue to a national security issue. Will this alleviate the risk, is a question that has no definitive answer as of now, though many countries, like Japan and the Maldives, are battling the threat through the provisions of public health protection laws. Nevertheless, national borders have become more prominent in the discussion in mitigating the risk or ‘flattening the curve’. One of the first approaches to crisis management adopted by many countries was restricting inflow of foreigners or announcing travel bans.
Today, the world is more interconnected than ever before. Travel restrictions (and bans) has affected global economy and global connectivity as the supply chains are disrupted. Many industries rely on components or raw materials from a supplier in another country. Hence, travel restrictions and flow of goods across countries is disrupting many industries, including those that support critical infrastructure, medical supplies, and personal hygiene.
Over 80 percent of medicines and vaccines either originate from China and India or use components manufactured in either of these countries. On 3 March 2020, India – world’s biggest supplier of generic drugs – had decided to restrict the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients, including Paracetamol, one of the world’s most widely used pain-relieving drugs. This decision came at a time when many manufacturers in China reduced their output. With the increase of domestic need in treating their infected populations and a global disconnection of transport, most countries risk suffering from shortage of medicines and medical equipment.
Governments are forced to reduce their recurrent expenditure and divert resources and funds to the response and recovery effort, while subsidizing essential services. Hence, the whole exercise increases government spending, even if OECD has revised global rate down from 2.9 percent to 2.4 percent (slowest since global financial crisis).
Regional alliances could break due to the inability to support suffering members of the block, as seen in the European Union. Though the 27 regional countries come together is crises, they could not support Italy. […]
The Covid-19 pandemic has defied national boundaries and has vindicated our shared vulnerability to this new phenomenon. It has underscored the imperative need to redouble concerted efforts at every level – national, regional, and international level to defeat the disease. In my mind, multilateralism is key for unleashing synergetic actions to overcome the current crisis. The pandemic has amply brought home the necessity to revisit the narrative of regional and international security.
Equally critical is the imminent fallout in the aftermath of the pandemic, which the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has rightly termed as After Corona (AC) in terms of global economic and financial downturn. For a country like Nepal, with weak economic foundation, the consequence will be severe. Tourism industry, backbone of the economy, is hard hit. Remittance has been dwindled.
Irrespective of the hardships, we are resolute to fight the disease by rigorously following the standard health protocol and through close cooperation and collaboration with our immediate neighbors, regional groups, and international community. The recent initiative by the South Asian leaders to work closely in the fight against the disease is an example. The lessons and best practices of China and it’s readiness to help the affected countries is also equally welcome sign.
Acting collectively and resolutely, we will be able to save the precious lives of people and wipe out the scourge from the face of the world sooner than later.
First case of COVID-19 detected in Chile was March 3rd with one person (a doctor) who went for vacation to South East Asia. Next day his wife was detected with COVID-19, they were at their honeymoon in that location of Asia (Thai, Vietnam). From that day until now, we have a total of 434 people with COVID-19. The authorities last Saturday upgraded from Phase 3 to Phase 4. National boundaries (air, maritime and land) was closed.
On March 18, President Piñera declared Exceptional State of Catastrophe, that means the Military Forces takes control of the country by Regional Chiefs of Staff (general and admirals) in each location of the country, with military forces on the street to protect boundaries, hospitals, supermarkets and basic elements like electricity centrals, water and gas. Also armed forces will provide their own issues and health elements, like hospitals, vehicles and health personnel (nurses and medicals) to contribute for the neutralizing of Covid-19.
The main population that has been contagious with COVID-19 are from Santiago, so today the authorities ordered quarantine of the Capital, in preference those areas with better economic situation. I hope that this pandemic will soon be stopped in the world and no more people will die because of this virus.
Any health threat such as COVID-19 whether originated from any particular country or state should be considered as an international threat in the sense that no one could predict the spreading potential and limitless power of the threat. There is no boundary for any health issue as we have witnessed for the COVID-19, SAR outbreak in 2003, EBOLA threat in most African countries since 1976 and various flu pandemics and epidemics.
With this view in hand, we expect aggressive and effective international response to minimize or even eradicate the health threat thus preventing an pandemic health situation. The complexity of each nation’s vision, mission, potential, capability, law, signed conventions, MOU, government system (democracy, communism etc.) internal institution and politics are a barrier to achievement of the expectation of an effective and successful international response. The public and even government fear of the uncertainty compounded with its lack of resources, experts, internal politics, bad governance, ineffective management, ineffective international coordination and corruption provide a poor platform for effective response. However, our expectation is not in vain because there is a way and that’s when the most powerful nations of the world hop in to lead, joint planning, manage, motivate, coordinate, provide, share, monitor and even control all response strategies in order to effectively and successfully address the health threat
Tonga, an important part of this region, has not confirmed any positive case of COVID-19. All three suspected sick people were taken to the main hospital (Vaiola) at the main island for care and custody, with medical samples sent to New Zealand and Australia for testing, which returned negative. In a coordinated effort, both advanced nations are conducting medical checks for COVID-19 on all passengers departing to Tonga. The government has been conducting its screening of passengers from international arrival. It has refused entry and directed departure of 3 to 4 cruise ships. All foreigners are prohibited from travelling to Tonga except citizens. Medical checks of sick people with fever or sickness that could be suspected of COVID-19 are separated with medical samples send to New Zealand or Australia for testing.
As at today, there are 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 243 suspected. The first case was a Chinese tourist in January. Once she recovered, there were no cases until 11 Mar when it increased to 53 in just 9 days as many Sri Lankans returned from working in Italy. Mandatory quarantine was instituted for people arriving from abroad, first from EU countries and then from all countries and all arrivals were stopped on 19 Mar. Three days public holiday were declared from 17 Mar and temporary lockdown of areas with many recent travelers from Italy. SLG declared work from home until 27 Mar. The challenges posed are numerous. Direct threat from COVID-19 is health of the people and a lack of health infrastructure, hospital beds, heath equipment, test kits etc. to cater such kind of catastrophe is the main challenge. This necessitates minimizing the infection rate (flattening the curve) so that health system is less overwhelmed. Other threat is economic strain. Tourism and foreign remittance from workers abroad are the major contributors for the economy and both have suffered. SLG declared six months loan payment moratorium. As many depend on these industries, it will take a long time to ease up the burden on the ailing economy. Major exports of tea, spices and agri products have lost overseas buyers due to close downs and transport closures. Increasing social unrest is a risk due to the poor economic situation and job loss, especially among youth. Subsidizing and other economic packages for people may improve the security and law enforcement in the medium to long run. The Sri Lanka Coast G[…]
The economy is reliant mostly on diamonds and tourism, but at the moment, the tourism industry is halted till further notice. Tourists have cancelled bookings and safari and wilderness businesses are winding down with staff is being retrenched due to low returns. The largest consumers of Botswana rough diamonds are US, India and China and these countries have been seriously hit by corona virus. The profits made by the diamond industry are now directed to fighting corona virus and other planned developments are being halted until the situation is under control. Currently, some of our borders are closed to inhibit the corona virus from entering our country. Thus some foreigners use ungazetted points to enter the country thereby exposing us to the virus as they are not tested upon official entry. Terrorists might see this as an opportunity to radicalize and cause more damage to the nation. This virus calls for collaboration of nations and continents as all are affected the same way. Together we can fight a good battle. ‘Remember that we can and we will make a difference, we just have to try’, wise words by Pete Gumataotao.