By Brig Umar A. Shah
Today, the world is facing an unprecedented challenge in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis has turned out to be more destructive than once anticipated. The international community is at growing risk of a social governance crisis, humanitarian crisis and even a possible food crisis.
It is a fact that the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 caught China by surprise. However, it was China’s unrelenting response to the outbreak which made a difference. The Chinese government and its people adopted a whole nation approach and remained undaunted as they took on this formidable task.
Following a human-centric approach, the Chinese government put people’s lives and health first thing first right from Day One. They acted according to the overall principle of shoring up confidence, strengthening unity, ensuring science-based control, treatment and imposing targeted measures. They mobilized the whole nation, set up collective control and acted with openness and transparency.
Not just at the national level, China’s contribution to the global response was also unprecedented. Besides sharing details of COVID-19 genomes with the WHO in time, China also extended material support to developing countries as well as the developed world, and right at a time when they needed it most. China also urged the international community regarding necessary precautions in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. It is unfortunate that such appeals were not taken seriously by many other heads of states.
With its robust and quick decision-making mechanisms, and being closer to a socialist economic model of universal healthcare, the Chinese leadership demonstrated the importance of bold decisions, and efficient public services to assist people during the crisis. No wonder China turned out to be the only country so far to have dealt effectively with the epidemic.
China outperformed the contemporary world and was able to contain the epidemic because of its robust decision-making mechanisms and well-developed public health sector. These are the key takeaways for countries which are desperately struggling to contain the COVID-19 epidemic. Moreover, the aspects warranting collective response mechanisms by states for curtailing the spread of coronavirus infections are given in the following paragraphs.
First, strengthen coordination and collaboration with the health, customs, transport and immigration authorities of neighboring countries.
Second, explore or develop liaison mechanisms for smooth and regular communications on the unfolding of the pandemic, control measures and management of borders.
Third, share diagnostic and treatment experiences, research data, and conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines.
Fourth, coordinate the production, demand and supply of medical resources, and facilitate each others’ purchases of these supplies on a commercial basis.
Fifth, carry out tabletop exercises for public health emergencies and conduct training programs jointly.
Sixth, restore growth as quickly as possible, ease tariff restrictions, eliminate barriers, boost the flow of trade and investment, and keep markets open to each other.
Seventh, cooperate on health and medical care, smart manufacturing, big data, and 5G to foster new drivers of economic growth.
The ongoing global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic warrants a whole nation approach at a domestic level aided with a globally coordinated response mechanism.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times news exchange item