CHINA has finally managed to control the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan, the city from where the pandemic began. According to a World Health Organization report, the coronavirus is so deadly that an infected person spreads it to an average of 2.6 people. After 10 generations of transmission — each taking five to six days — the initial case has the capacity to spawn 3,500 new cases in a matter of days.
The Chinese authorities defeated the pandemic by imposing a severe lockdown, the scale of which is unprecedented in history. The words aggressive, draconian and extreme were used to describe the measures. However, the world has now accepted this prescription as the only remedy.
Many people feel China’s method of dealing with the issue is a violation of individual rights? Actually the balance between individual rights and public safety is an ever-changing equation. After 9/11, all airports in the world imposed draconian safety checks and people accepted it. We traded a little of our freedom for the greater public good.
China imposed the most draconian quarantine in history and the results speak for itself. This is exactly the remedy that Pakistan should follow. What is needed is for the Pakistani people to accept this prescription and cooperate with the authorities. The sooner we accept this fact the faster will be our recovery. Desperate times demand desperate measures and this is such an occasion.
Politics should not take precedence over public health. Unfortunately this is happening. The coronavirus scare is being used by President Donald Trump to justify tighter border control while Senator Bernie Sanders has made the case for free healthcare.
Meanwhile every country is learning to deal with the situation according to its circumstances.
Muhammad Issa Khan Balti
Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2020