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Covid-19: The World should rescue the Indian Sub-continent

In Bangladesh, the government imposed lockdown but never called it lockdown. They declared it a general holidays.

by Swadesh Roy

The COVID-19 situation of Indian sub-continent is worst now. Here, in the Indian sub-continent, with the increasing of number of affected people and the death toll, the character of community and cluster spread of COVID-19 is getting a very worse shape every day. It seems uncertainty grasps the problems, for none of the countries of this Sub-continent does not know when they will get rid of it. Notwithstanding, the governments of these three countries are seemed to be a little bit helpless. Even that, they are not firmly clear about their ending or the destination. Rather, some distinguished people of these three countries are thinking that their governments or countries are now in a tunnel. They do not know what is waiting for them at the end of the tunnel. Is it a ray of light or a piece of stone, which block the tunnel or like big key as it was in the famous movie 'Tunnel'?

Trade during the COVID-19
Given this context, the first question arises why they are in this dark tunnel. First of all, among the countries which are affected by the COVID-19 till now, these three countries are more densely populated. Poverty is extreme here. Moreover, most of the people live in this sub-continent depending on destiny. They think that destiny is all. No science, no rationality works in the majority of people's lives in this locality. That's why it is very much tough to make the common people cautious about the healthcare regulations guided by the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding coronavirus or COVID-19. Despite, the common people believe that life and death are fixed by the God. It is the act of God. No diseases can be a cause of death without the will of God. Even that, there are many people in the cabinet and the administration in these three countries whose beliefs are more or less the same. When people and the guidance of the governments believe lay in this surface, it is a very tough job to make the people cautious regarding a contagious disease like COVID-19.

However, the authorities of these three countries imposed lockdown earlier. It was the third week of the March but their preparation was not that much organized. They did not deploy the law and order forces strongly and properly to implement the lockdown. Rather, it was like public holidays. On the other hand, the big country India faced protest against lockdown from the inter-province migrant labors and the Hindu fundamentalists. Before imposing the lockdown, the government of India had not thought about these inter-province migrant labors. They should have arranged a system before imposing the lockdown to settle the inter-province migrant labors problems, for example, they could have arranged some special trains for sending them to their home towns. After settling this, if they imposed lockdown, thousand hundreds people would not gather in the bus and railway station day after day. And they would not be the cause of rapid contagion of COVID-19. Besides that, as the Hindu religious fundamentalist party is in power now, they could forbid their religious fundamentalists who were spreading unscientific method and those Hindu priest groups who demanded to open the temples and continue the congregational prayer. But it did not happen in time. They had been suffered by their migrant labors, and they had to seek the help from the highest court of the country for stopping the huge religious gathering; one of their Hindu religious festival 'Juggernaut's Roth Jatra'.

Simultaneously, Pakistan faced the worst things that happened regarding imposing lockdown. Their Prime Minister Imran Khan had to step back for the hit of the Maulanas (Islamic Clerics). After imposing lockdown, Imran Khan banned congregational prayer inside the mosques. But the Maulanas of Pakistan robustly protested it and Imran Khan had to bow down to the Maulanas immediately.

In Bangladesh, the government imposed lockdown but never called it lockdown. They declared it a general holidays. Except the cautious middle class and upper class, all the people took it as general holidays. They moved here and there and gathered in the kitchen market and other places. After all, the lockdown was never imposed in Bangladesh strongly.

Beside those irregularities, these three countries couldn't understand the curve of the COVID-19 contagion. Though, they could study the curve of COVID-19 contagion from the other affected countries like China, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA. They could easily understand the curve which always rises through a geometric ratio. So, when a curve's character becomes geometric, it always starts slowly but increases in a high rapid speed after a certain stage. In these three countries, it also happened like that.

Seeing the slow curve in the initial stage, the authorities of these three countries thought Covid-19 would not spread extremely here like West and China. Besides, some virologists and other medical experts misguided the authority. They expressed the wrong views. They said that the immunity of the Sub-continent's people is strong with which they will be able to resist the coronavirus. They also told that the climate of this Sub-continent is different from the West and Wuhan of China. The hit and humidity are high here, so COVID-19 virus would not spread here that much. The authorities of these three countries believed it. So, they did not find out any method of lockdown which will be workable in this kind of people dense country.

Seeing this slow curve of contagion, the business group and the authorities of these three countries thought that Covid-19 might have been a business opportunity for them. They thought many investments will be shifted from China to this Sub-continent. Not only the business group and the authorities of the states but also some journalists and experts wrote many articles that investments would shift from China to this Sub-continent. In these circumstances, the business groups of these three countries got the upper hand. They advised the authorities following the COVID-19 situation that if they ran the industries and businesses, the country would attract more investment and earn more foreign currency exporting their commodities.

By all these incidents, the situation became boomerang for this Sub-continent. From religious belief to investment theory, all helped the rapid contagion of Covid-19. And now these three countries are basically staying in a deep dark situation. They could not find out the way of walking that can help them to reach towards the light, for they have lost the opportunity of total lockdown for breaking the chain of the virus. Now, virus has spread in the community as clusters and is spreading rapidly. Even that, it is not just spreading in the people dense main city of the countries. It has also spread like a very remote and thin populated town Guwahati of Assam. It has spread in many villages of the Punjab in Pakistan, West Bengal in India, and many villages in Bangladesh.

In this situation, World Health Organization (WHO) and world monetary organizations have to think about this Sub-continent, because, 1.8 billion people live here. It is almost 30% portion of the world population. On the contrary, the healthcare system is very much poor here and has already broken down. Besides that, more or less 40% of this Sub-continent’s population lives below the poverty line. So, if this Covid-19 situation continues here like the present way, a huge number of people will die by the disease and starvation. That's why, now it is the duty of the world community to save these poor people. Here to mention another humanitarian crisis. As a people dense poor country, Bangladesh is maintaining one million Rohingya refugees. In this COVID-19 period, most of the government and non-government organizations have withdrawn their helping hand already. So, UNHCR has to take a special measure for Rohingya refugees. Otherwise, it is unbearable for Bangladesh to maintain one million refugees in this COVID-19 situation.

Swadesh Roy, Senior Journalist, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a highest state award winning journalist and can be reached at swadeshroy@gmail.com

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