COVID-19 and international relations

Reading time: 6-8 minutes.

One must take note of the remarkable date of 22nd March, 2020 when each individual in India was expected to show up in support of all those professionals who have been constantly striving towards battling the deadly Corona virus that has caused thousands of deaths across the globe. As known to all, this virus originated in Wuhan, China during the month of December, 2019.

In order to understand the reasons behind increasing mortality due to this virus, one must attempt to acquire sufficient understanding of the anatomy of Corona virus. As per a report by the World Health Organization, these viruses belong to the Coronaviridae family and they attack both humans and animals. It is important to know that the recent corona virus found in humans in Wuhan was not previously recognized and is posing threats to human race including syndromes like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

The virus that primarily originated in China recognizes bats as a dominant carrier but the WHO experts assert that there are a couple of other animals that act as medium of transfer of virus from animal species to humans. In order to ascertain other sources of this virus, environmental sampling was conducted from the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market and other surrounding markets in China. It is important to note that this virus does not exist in air but rests on a surface.

In order to avoid the transmission of this virus, it is important that people refrain from establishing any physical contact with each other. As per a report by the WHO, two of the drastically affected cities of China are Wuhan, Guangdong and Sichuan. The researches and statistics presented by the WHO are predominantly accelerated through reports by these provinces in China. One must know that this virus did not develop within other countries but spread merely due to people coming in contact with the infected from across the globe.

Viewing this pandemic crisis with an international perspective, it can be said that the need of the hour is a strong collaboration between nations irrespective of the former disparities because one must understand that eventually its human fighting for human.

Its spread throughout the globe

Before one dwells into the intricacies of the virus and its consequences at a global scale, it is important to understand the accurate meaning of what exactly is a Pandemic disease and in which circumstances is a disease considered Pandemic. As per the definition provided by the World Health Organization, an influenza pandemic is said to have occurred when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads across the globe and the major problem surrounding this is the fact that people have less immunity against this Pandemic disease. COVID 19 is now a Pandemic disease owing to the fact that it has affected thousands of people across the globe.

One must have good knowledge about the routes of transmission of Corona virus so as to ascertain preventive measures pertaining to the same. The World Health Organization reports assert that COVID 19 is transmitted through droplets and fomites due to the unprotected physical contact between the infected individual and the rest of the world. A common notion surrounding influenza virus is that these are predominantly air borne but COVID 19 is found not to be air borne but merely through physical contact.

The transmission of virus amongst nations occurred at an extremely fast pace. In countries like India, most of the patients who were found infected with this virus, had international travel history and did not develop this within the country. In absence of any certain cure of COVID 19, the only way of minimizing the disastrous effect of this disease is all sorts of attempts to prevent this. Social Distancing is the only way that can prevent spreading of this virus among the masses. As per the WHO report, almost all the regions across the globe have reported confirmed corona cases. These regions primarily include Western Pacific, South East Asia, Region of Americas, European region and Eastern Mediterranean region.

Its effect on international relations

The outbreak of this deadly disease not only killed people in large numbers but also adversely affected the global economies and international relations amongst the nations. For instance, India witnessed a 45 minute closure in the SENSEX which had adverse impacts on the economy as a whole. The Chinese economy is bound to witness a slowdown due to it being the epicenter of the virus but one must pay attention to the impact on the existing trade tensions between US and China.

As per the phase one agreement between the two countries, China promised to bring about an increase in the imports of goods and services manufactured and provided by US respectively but due to this pandemic crisis, there is a high probability that China might not adhere to its promise owing to the economic slowdown it is currently witnessing. The financial markets across nations have rattled. This is clearly evident from the crashing GDP of nations across the globe and the heightened issues of sustaining market forces within almost every nation.

It should also be noted that amid all the tensions, nations presently stand united in the battle against corona virus. As per a newspaper report, the Russian army was sent as a part of medical help to Italy. It must be known that Italy has been facing extremely harsh conditions in terms of spread of the deadly corona virus. In less than three months, the virus has resulted in most of hospitals being occupied by hundreds of sufferers.

Approximately, fifteen thousand have been infected as of 13th of March, 2020. This noble initiative by Russia is actually helping Italy fight the health crisis that it is going through. It is pertinent to note that leaders from across the nations have been appealing masses to follow and encourage social distancing in pursuit of preventing more cases of COVID 19 that could arise in future. Looking at the collaboration amongst nations, it can be contended that this health crisis has had varying impacts on the relations amongst nations in monetary as well as non- monetary terms.

Critical analysis and probable way forward

Analyzing the current situation in India and across nations, it is important to note that only the citizens themselves are capable of controlling the spread of this virus through maintaining considerable distance amongst them. They must avoid visiting any public place and should practice self- isolation in order to prevent any further spread of this virus. Leaders of nations across the globe have been trying to convince masses into practicing social distancing through several platforms of communication like social media, press, radio and television. As a researcher, it is important to analyze that if the spread of COVID 19 is not contained during these months, it might heighten up to the third stage which if at all happens, will be difficult to deal with.

The only way forward is to strictly adhere to the government released instructions until the countries are able to contain the virus. This shall not only help the masses residing within a particular country but also will stop the uncontrolled transmission of Corona to other countries because people tend to visit different countries following work, vacation, etc. Restricting movement from one country to another shall also solve the issue of quick transmission of virus and so as if at all the initiative of self- isolation does not work in favor of the citizens, then the government may adopt the strategy involving restriction of movement not within the country but between two or more countries.

Conclusion

The Pandemic crisis of COVID 19 is not resolved but is still progressing in terms of number of deaths across the globe. So, asserting any statement of conclusion will not be appropriate because the issue has not yet witnessed a downfall. It is pertinent to note that the Pandemic crisis has led to change in economic and trade relations that the neighboring countries share, yet it is interesting to know that all these countries stand in unity against the virus and are striving hard to control the situation. Apart from this, it is important to understand that this virus primarily spreads through social contact as it requires a surface to settle down unlike other influenza viruses that are air borne.

Awareness regarding the anatomy and spread of virus amongst the masses is important so that they are not carried away by fake information. Detailed understanding of the scientific origin of Corona virus is important to judge the veracity of information being shared majorly across the social media platforms. It should be understood that the masses tend to believe a piece of information when they are in a state of panic. The same has been happening across the globe, due to the Pandemic crisis which eventually results in unnecessary panic where the time could have been productively used in discovering and following innovative preventive measures in a pursuit of combating the spread of COVID 19.

Author: Meghna Bhatt from NMIMS School of Law, Mumbai.

Editor: Ismat Hena from Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia.

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