Today, the entire world is suffering from the havoc inflicted by the coronavirus. The WHO has already declared it a pandemic. So far, over 3,51,700 people have been infected by the virus worldwide, of which more than 15,370 have lost their lives. And the number of people infected is steadily increasing.
In India, more than 400 people are reported to have been infected, out of which eight have died.
It is believed that in India, we are currently in the second phase of the corona spread; and the next two to three weeks will be very crucial. So far, most of the cases in India are directly related to people coming from abroad, that is, foreign tourists or Indians coming from abroad and their relatives and friends who come in contact with them. The random testing by ICMR, in which 826 cases were investigated last week, all reported negative. This showed there was no community spread at least till then. But this doesn’t mean that India will not suffer from community spread of the virus. This is being learned from the experience of China, Italy, Iran, etc.
The human-to-human spread of the virus began in Wuhan, China. Chinese authorities learnt about the virus infection in December 2019 itself. Some people have claimed that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China and linked it to the manufacture of biological weapons by China. But the scientists of this institute say that both its locaction and the spread of the virus there is merely a coincidence.
Most believe that this virus reached the human body from animals due to the culture of eating exotic animals in China. It likely came from bats or from an animal infected by the bats. So there is unanimity that the virus originated in China. Perhaps this is the reason why US President Donald Trump is calling it the “Chinese virus”. This is not the first time that a virus has spread from China. In 2002 too, an infection called SARS in which thousands of people around the world were infected and more than 750 died, came from China. The country mishandled that outbreak too.
Based on the information received, the incidence of this virus is decreasing in China and soon normalcy will be restored in China. Even if we ignore the conspiracy angle or the exotic food habits, the complaint from all over the world is that despite having information about this virus in December, the Chinese government didn’t respond properly and allowed its spread.
Did the Chinese government act responsibly? Did they warn the world about this? Based on the information received, it is found that no one other than the Chinese government can be held responsible for the initial spread of the virus that has now turned into a pandemic. How the Chinese government mistreated the doctor, who raised alarm about this virus for the first time and who eventually died, is no secret.
This infection has spread to more than 150 countries throughout the world, and Italy and Iran have been among the worst hit. According to reports, China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) Project is a major contributor to the spread of this infection in these nations. Despite being so far away from China, the cause of the outbreak in these two countries can be explained by OBOR linkages. Significantly, China has been aggressively pursuing this project for some time to advance its strategic and economic interests. Italy and Iran are two countries that are major stakeholders in this project. Italy has opened its infrastructure to transport, and even four major ports, to Chinese investment. Lombardy and Tuscany are the two regions with the highest Chinese investment.
Iran. which has been under severe US economic sanctions for a long time, started encouraging Chinese investment, and in 2019, they officially signed the OBOR for construction of a 2,000-mile-long rail track crossing western China to Tehran and to Turkey. In addition, the Railway Engineering Corporation of China is laying a $2.7 billion high-speed railway line coming out of Qom. Along with this, Chinese technicians are also renovating the nuclear power plant. Iran’s health experts believe that this infection spread to Qom, either from Chinese workers or businessmen coming from China. It’s notable that India has said a ‘big no’ to OBOR right from the very beginning.
China has been capturing the world’s markets for a long time by adopting tactics like dumping, export subsidies and many other tricks. In such a situation, manufacturing declined not only in India, but also in large developed countries like the US, Europe, and other countries around the world. They also started facing payments crises.Unemployment, especially youth unemployment, increased globally. Today, with the import of goods from China not possible due to the lockdown there, manufacturing all around the world has been hit hard.
The havoc of corona on the one hand and the economic crisis on the other have been forcing many countries to think whether China can remain the center stage of globalisation in the world in times to come. Nations around the world may redefine their relationship with China and try to reconstruct their industries. The latest example is the `3,000 crore plan of our government to revive active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), that is, the pharma industries’ raw materials. While the Chinese government has now become active to try and minimise its infamy, the world will soon have to decide the nature of economic activities in the future.