The Covid 19 has made lives miserable around the world. The pandemic has already taken toll of innumerable lives of people living in different countries in all the continents. In the beginning, from China it travelled to Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. From there it changed its course and started towards the west. On its way, it engulfed Iran, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and England. Hard-hit among these countries includes Iran, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and England. The health systems of these countries failed to cope up with the havoc created by the Virus. It infected people like wildfire and caused thousands of deaths. The pandemic situation is still not under control in these countries. However, it has been reported that situations are improving in all these countries. From Europe Covid 19 crossed to the other continents, Americas and Australia. Not it has made the United States of America particularly one of its states, New York, as the epicenter of the Virus. The wealthiest and most powerful country of the world, the USA, has become helpless in the face of the onslaught and ferocity of the deadly nature of the Covid 19. Its elaborate and most advanced medical system is finding it difficult to contain it and stop the ever-increasing number of deaths of its common citizens including the medical practitioners. The Virus is spreading its tentacles to other states like California, Louisiana and Illinoi, only to name a few of the several states of the USA. South Asia that includes Bangladesh is also experiencing the gradual inroad of the Covid 19 virus. However, the worst has still not come and we firmly believe that even if it comes we will be able to overcome the havoc of the pandemic through our concerted efforts of all. It includes the government and the people from all works of life. During all these pandemic days, the world has come to a standstill because of lockdowns and all sorts of restrictions imposed by different states on the lives of their citizens. In an unprecedented manner, everything including economic, political, social and cultural lives has been stopped by the states just to save the lives of their citizens. It has no parallel in history. Even during great wars like world Wars I and II such all-encompassing restrictive measures were not taken. To contain the spread of the Covid 19 the measure like social distancing that calls for isolation of the highest form has been imposed. It has ceased all outdoor activities of all excepting the health and law enforcement personnel responsible to treat the virus affected and other patients and maintain law and order that too to facilitate the fight against the deadly virus. In the face of such a grim scenario, all kinds of human efforts are on also to find medical remedies to get rid of the virus and save the mankind from the disaster of such extreme proportions.
However, historical evidence suggests that many a time disasters like such extreme nature, for example Plague, Spanish Flu, SARS, AIDS and Ebola etc., threatened the human civilization. With concerted efforts of all and epoch-making breakthroughs in medical sciences, these disasters were averted and human lives were saved. But in the process, many valuable human lives were lost. These examples, testify that in the end human efforts prevail over natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics. These successes reassure us that at the end or on the other side of the dark tunnel of disasters there is the light of life. Only challenge is that we need to take a journey through the dark tunnel to reach the other end. Keeping all the past experiences and success stories of the mankind against all these uphill challenges to their very existence, we are confident that the deadly menace of Covid 19 will be conquered and a new bright sun of hope will rise again in the horizon. Such a new dawn will mean a lot to individuals, organizations and the states and the governments. It will also entail a different agenda to be pursued by them.First, it will be an overwhelming feeling of joy that we are alive in a new world full of hopes and aspirations. There will be a global celebration marking the end or victory over the life-threatening virus called the Covid 19. This celebration will be of unprecedented nature. It will be of enthusiastic participation of all rich or poor and irrespective of national identities, colour, religion, caste and creed. The scale of the celebration will be such that it never happened in history. The individuals will come out of their forced isolation and will try to implement many of their personal agenda signifying joy and happiness like endless social gatherings, sports, travelling and merrymaking of all kinds. At the same time, all sectors of the economy will resume, with new vigour, all activities and pursuits. These sectors of the economy consisting of the ‘Government, For-Profit or Business, the Nonprofit or Independent, and Households or Family’ will resume their activities in full earnest to cover up the losses incurred due to the Covid 19. Now here will come the proactive role of the respective governments of different countries. The governments must come forward in a bigger way with various initiatives, never experienced before in history, to assist the individuals as well as the other sectors to resume their economic and other pursuits. In this particular area, the rich countries and various bilateral and multilateral agencies need to come up especially with economic assistance, most probably of unprecedented scale, especially for the developing countries. Here it may be pointed out that in the globalized economic world the participation of all countries is needed for mutual benefits and sustained economic growth and development. This will be more necessary to come out of the negative fallouts of the Covid 19. In this respect, the governments, international development partner agencies and think tanks both national and international need to come up with mutually beneficial plans, programs and strategies for rejuvenating economies and take those again to the growth path.
Finally, the pandemic caused by the Covid 19 must be an eye-opener for the whole world. It has now become a proven fact that due to globalization no region or country is immune to disasters whatever these may be, natural or health-related like Covid 19. Again, over the years, because of overexploitation of the natural resources we have caused immense damages to the environment. Unless concerted global efforts are taken to preserve and conserve the environment the mankind in the near future may face many natural disasters or calamities that could surpass the horrific devastative nature of the Covid 19. In many cases, these will threaten the existence of the mankind and the civilization that has been built over the years with the sacrifices and discoveries and innovations of all. Such feelings and understanding must be developed and accepted by all. On the basis of those shared understandings appropriate plans, programs and strategies must be devised for the safety and security of the mankind from all kinds of threats to their very existence. This will also call for strengthening and revitalizing the global partnership for the benefit of all.
(The different sources of information are acknowledged with gratitude).
The writer is a Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Dhaka