The coronavirus, which initially began from the Chinese city of Wuhan has now rapidly spread across the entire world. It has traveled a long journey from being called an outbreak to a pandemic now by the World Health Organization. It has affected more than 110,000 people in at least 110 countries in the world till now.
China obviously tops the list with more than 80,000 infections reported from there. The disease has created a substantial impact outside China as well. This includes 7,000 cases reported each from Italy, Iran and South Korea. Other European countries like France, Germany and Spain are catching up fast on the reported cases of coronavirus. It is rightly so why the US President Donald Trump announced a 1- month travel ban on Thursday for people travelling from Europe. Italy continues to be on lockdown for the next 20 days.
Coronavirus impacting the Global Economy
Looking from an economic point of view, the issue more important than the number of cases of COVID-19, is the level of disruption of economies from containment measures. This virus can severely impact the global economy to a large extent. Major financial institutions have cut down on their forecasts for this year. All the countries are now keeping this as their first priority. The governments around the world do understand the impact the coronavirus outbreak can have on human life. Both China and Italy have imposed widespread lock-downs in various virus hotspots. This can create panic and impact the economies even more. Many of the countries including Australia may well go into a financial recession in the coming months. It will also depend on the impact of the containment measures by various countries.
The manufacturing sector in China has been hit quite hard by this outbreak. This has impacted the entire Chinese economy to a large extent. Not only this, this virus has badly affected the service sector globally including superpowers such as China and US. The slowdown in the economic activity has brought down the demand for oil as well.
What steps can Governments take to tackle Coronavirus ?
China was highly proactive in responding to this situation. They created a large hospital quite fast in Wuhan to tackle the situation. The Government decided to lock down the cities, suspend business operations and restrict movement of millions of people. They have now been able to bring down the number of cases.
Countries need to invest in a huge rollout of free testing so that we can easily detect the sick people. Many of the large gatherings happening in various countries must be cancelled for the time being. It should happen at least till the time the situation comes under control. The concept of telemedicine needs to be further extended so that patients can get medical advice staying at home. Moreover, the Governments need to be proactive in planning for hospitals to be overwhelmed. This is exactly what has happened in Wuhan, China; Northern Italy and Iran. From the international education point of view, Universities have to think on conducting online classes, if not a lockdown to avoid further outbreak of coronavirus. The University of Sydney has already said that it will now be conducting its classes online for some time.
How can Social Distancing prevent the spread of coronavirus?
One of the common solutions floating in society presently is social distancing. It is a fancy term of avoiding crowds. It could mean working from home rather than catching a train to the office, avoiding concerts or weddings. For any person, it may simply mean keeping distance between yourself and another person. This can reduce the risk of breathing in droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Not only this, there has been a change in the way people are greeting each other. Instead of formal handshakes, people are preferring to greet via elbows or legs or the famous Indian style of saying “Namaste”.
The situation of coronavirus is getting extremely serious now. It needs to be controlled as soon as possible. It should be at the top of the priority list for all the countries as it can lead to further devastation. The measures of containing it should be as severe as possible including lock-downs and cancellation of large gatherings and events for the time being. The Governments need to take bold steps and should come together on this issue as Coronavirus outbreak has now taken place in 114 nations. It is no longer an affair of a single country. It is also the responsibility of the people to take some preventive measures to keep themselves safe. People must make sure to wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their face.