Thu. Apr 2nd, 2020

Fighting The Coronavirus Pandemic – I


By Syed Shamsuddin

Sadly, Dr. Usama Riaz, who contracted CoVID19 virus while screening passengers for the same disease at Juglote, 35km away from Gilgit city, has passed away, after remaining on ventilator for a few days.

This is, indeed, an irreparable loss that has left us all grieving and shocked. The heroic deeds of the brave medic in the line of duty will go down in the region’s history. Undoubtedly, this brave son of the soil who laid down his life so valiantly for the noble cause of humanity is to always to be remembered and paid glowing tributes.

Dr. Usama’s death reminds us of the extent of deadliness of the pandemic which is overtaking almost every part of the world and wreaking havoc all across the planet.  What nonetheless becomes imperative at this juncture is that all the doctors and medical staff assigned the duty are invariably issued protective kits to enable them to perform in a safe and unhindered manner.

While the region is mourning the death of the brave medic and paying homage to him, one also has to look around the global scene, wrought by the pandemic.

This scribe came across a hair-tingling video clip on 22nd March, from a Pakistani who is living in Italy for the last 30 years. Flagging up the worst situation there, the video presented what may un-exaggeratedly be called the apocalyptic scenario seeing a once bustling modern locality about 84 miles off Milan in such a terrible state.

Masked and wearing gloves himself, he could be seen making a very humble appeal to his compatriots here in Pakistan for taking a lesson from what has happened in Italy which is under severest  lockdown as a result of the exponential rise in deaths.

Another report unfolds that despite timely action and repeated preliminary appeals from the government to the people for abiding by the recommendations regarding strict social distancing and self-isolation etc., many have paid least heeds and rather demonstrated negligence which has taken the situation to a point of no return. This is completely opposed to China, where severe lockdowns have helped contain the situation, by and large.

Briefly describing the pathetic Italian scene, he said that Italy –  a thousand times ahead of Pakistan in terms of progress – has sadly paralyzed and feels helpless in fighting out the pandemic. This fact is also corroborated by the gloomy admission by the Italian Prime Minister Conte whose eyes were welled up with tears, when he said distressingly and pathetically: “We lost control of the epidemic. We died physically and mentally, we do not know what to do any more. All solutions on Earth have ended. The only solution is to the sky”, according to viral post making the rounds on the internet.

In another video, dated 21.02.2020, a Pakistani named Hassan Kilde Bajwa, from Copenhagen, kept on appealing meekly to his Pakistani brethren: “Please, the pandemic is not at all a joke. It is deadly and, you all take on the responsibility of slowing its spread or otherwise you are part of making a worst situation for everyone on the planet’. He said: ‘I have realized after noticing what happened during the preceding 24 hours with the deadly disease ferociously sweeping across the world with deadly seriousness. The WHO, all world’s governments, all health professionals of the world and all those who have bits of information on it hold the view unanimously that the pandemic as unimaginably massive it is, is massively wreaking havoc by destroying and killing people around the globe whilst annihilating world economies. It is just going to destroy the major part of the world order. This is an apocalyptic moment in human history. The world today as he fears justifiably is unlikely to stay the same after three months time so this situation needs be seen very seriously.

Notwithstanding all of this, some people in Pakistan, he says, still wrongly believe it will not harm them. It does not matter to them. They tell others not to get panicky, just take a cup of tea, and recite a ‘Dua’ and everything will be alright. They term the worldwide ‘recommendations’, like social distancing, self-isolation etc, as unnecessary, as if these are not meant for them.

One further explains, I am quite healthy now hence these (recommendations) appertain to or are meant for the others who are not like him.

Please do not excuse your way out this. This pandemic is not what you think it is. It is indiscriminate and does not care whether you have read a Dua, you have been to a party or marriage or to a mosque. It just catches you no matter in which state you are and where you are.

There is no way out except social distancing to prevent the outbreak. Please isolate yourself or else you will kill another, that is going to happen. So please, I am generally truly begging you to take this seriously. I just want to give an idea that in this society in which I am currently living, economy is robust, education level is 100%, the healthcare system is supremely geared to handle any situation the public can face. But despite this, the health professionals here are in panic. They fear that the existing healthcare system will not be able to handle any kind of situation public can face. The people are in panic. That is the reality. In just last 24 hours, the number of fatalities has doubled and it is going to rise exponentially. In last 24 hours, the number of people who cannot breathe admitted to hospitals doubled, the number of people who have contracted the disease is more than double.

People are dying but notwithstanding this, ignorance leads some people in Pakistan to insist,’ I have to go to the mosque, I have to attend a marriage, I have to go to see a friend, I have to let my domestic workers to come in for carrying out household chores – clean home, cook our food, this or that.  That is how it is, despite the fact that they may be out there picking up the disease and bring it back into the house. Stop, our guys, seriously! The Cornonavirus is not a joke and the worldwide recommendations are not a futile spread of information. He says in furtherance that Copenhagen is a hub for airline traffic with international fights perennially seen crisscrossing the sky,. But now at this time, no flight can be seen which points to the level of seriousness. No bloody plane is in the sky now.

People think that Pakistan will be safe and immune from the disease. Pakistan will not be safe, he says. The virus has already come to Pakistan. There are far more people who have the disease and are transmitting the disease. People are going to die of the disease at a scale which cannot be imagined at this point in time.

Please show your responsibility; be a responsible citizen. Show some solidarity with your compatriots and especially those who are really endangered  –  the elderly and the immuno-deficient or immune- suppressed as they can very badly react to this. Show some solidarity, some care, some compassion for them and isolate yourself. Pleas listen to the recommendations and isolate yourself. Stop going out and mingling with others. Do not attend marriage ceremonies, nor do attend meetings. Instead of going to the mosques, offer prayers in isolation. God will accept your prayers. You do not need to contact and collect with other human beings and instead, have to do strictly the opposite. If you have any sense of responsibility in society and the world, you have to take the responsibility of slowing the spread.

Please listen! It is not a joke. Start isolating yourself forthwith. If you, for the time being consider that you won’t be affected and thus do not take it seriously, you will come to realize when an elderly in your family dies or another intra-family mortality among vulnerable members and sickening of members within the family occurs or else you yourself suffer from breathing problem and there be no respiratory oxygen tank available for you to survive,

If someone in the family may die, or be sick because of it, will you start taking it seriously then? Don’t delay it, take action now.

The Covid-19 is deadly serious and we must respond/react with deadly seriousness.

It must be recalled that a much instructive ‘recommendation’ prepared meticulously by the Aga Khan University (AKU), in keeping with the guidelines of WHO recently in collaboration with John Hopkins University and Harvard University concerning Covid-19 (Coronavirus), has been video-shared recently via social media which brings forth facts connected with the pandemic in order to enlighten the viewers on how to differentiate the pandemic from influenza and how it can effectively be fought out and contained by taking preventive measures.

Briefly, it says that the novel Coronavirus is a flu virus which is so tiny and invisible that it cannot be seen by an ordinary microscope. Hence an electronic microscope alone may become instrumental in detecting it.

To be continued…..

What do you think?

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