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Corona - The Plague of 21st Century

“My worry is poverty and hunger. The world community has to think of some sort of a debt write-off for countries like us, which are very vulnerable, at least that will help us in coping with the corona virus.”

by Ali Sukhanver

Natural calamities and disasters have ever been hostile to the peace and serenity of all human societies. Today it is the Corona, somewhere in the 14th century it was the Plague commonly known as the Black Plague and Black Death. That devastating epidemic resulted in the deaths of more than 200 million people in Eurasia and its climax was observed during the period of 1347 to 1351 in Europe. Reports say that ‘the plague created a number of religious, social and economic upheavals, with profound effects on the course of European history’. Another report on the consequences of the Black Death says, “Half of Paris's population of 100,000 people died. In Italy, the population of Florence was reduced from 110,000–120,000 inhabitants in 1338 down to 50,000 in 1351. At least 60% of the population of Hamburg and Bremen perished and a similar percentage of Londoners may have died from the disease as well. In London approximately 62,000 people died between 1346 and 1353.” The story does not stop here; this scourge gave birth to so many economic and social problems. The most important problem was that of the lack of lobourers. With such a large population decline wages soared in response to a labor shortage. According to the Decameron Web, “The plague had large scale social and economic effects. People abandoned their friends and family, fled cities, and shut themselves off from the world.



Funeral rites became perfunctory or stopped altogether, and work ceased being done.” Today the Corona virus is dragging the world to the same direction.

The world was not a global village in the days of the Black Death; there were time-taking distances but now those long distances have been shortened to hours and days. Even for the viruses, journey from one place to the other place is as easy as it is for human beings. We see that this Corona Virus has spread throughout the world in just a few weeks. From US to Afghanistan, no country is safe from this virus. The severity of its consequences could be more severe than that of the Black Death. Another important fact is that fighting with Corona needs a lot of financial resources and certainly countries like Pakistan don’t have such resources. In case this disease spreads here in Pakistan, it won’t be possible for the government, which is already under the burden of billions and trillions of dollars debts, to control it vehemently.

The prime minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan, in a recent interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan, has expressed his concerns over the possible upsetting impacts the corona-virus might have on the countries facing economic instability and unsteadiness. He said, “My worry is poverty and hunger. The world community has to think of some sort of a debt write-off for countries like us, which are very vulnerable, at least that will help us in coping with the corona virus.” Whatever said the Prime Minister is really worth-consideration. The scenario towards which he has tried to draw the attention of the world had once destroyed the whole social and economic fiber of the world somewhere in the 14th century. Imran Khan is very right in saying that exports would fall off, unemployment would soar and an onerous national debt would become an impossible burden. The consequences of this scourge would not remain limited to Pakistan only, India and many of the African countries would also be facing the horrible consequences of this scourge. He further said, “If a serious outbreak happens in the country, the government’s efforts to lift the economy out of near-collapse would begin an unstoppable slide backward.”

To stop this pandemic from spreading further, the government of Pakistan is doing all best possible. Learning a lesson from Italy, the government of Pakistan has put a ban on public gatherings in public parks, schools, colleges, universities, shopping malls and even in the mosques. With the help of radio, TV, newspapers and social media, the government is trying to make the public aware of the precautionary measures with reference to the Corona virus. In some cities of Pakistan even the cafés and restaurants have been stopped from working till next orders. Italy currently has the highest number of Corona virus cases in Europe. Reports say that the corona virus cases in Italy surged from hundreds to thousands within two weeks, from a few hundred in the third week of February to more than 3,000 in the first week of March and crossed 10,000 on 10 March. On 15th March 2020, it was 24747. The only reason behind this so rapid increase in the number of Corona Virus affected patients is that the public in Italy did not take the precautionary measures imposed by the government serious.

Certainly, the people of Pakistan have realized the severity and gravity of the matter and they are doing all possible cooperation with the government in fighting against the Corona Virus. Situation would soon get better and the cruel Corona virus will have to get out of Pakistani borders. Pakistanis are a brave nation; they know very well how to defeat disasters and how to counter the calamities. Moreover we pray for the complete safety and protection of the whole world from the cruel clutches of the Corona disaster.

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