The world has been shaken to its core, and some miracle must happen if humanity is to survive this pandemic. Veloo Saminathan writes.
Conspiracy theories continue to be spun on the origins and nature of Covid-19, which has baffled scientists in many parts of the world as they race against time to find a cure that could prevent millions of unnecessary deaths, many of them in the West.
In the Eastern world, the rapid spread of the coronavirus has been somewhat thwarted although India has become a new epicentre with millions caught up in a stringent lockdown relentlessly imposed by the authorities. The congested conditions, especially in the cities, in which many of the country’s 1.3 billion people live, is often cited as the primary cause.
China, which was praised for its overwhelming and relentless containment of the dreaded disease, has almost eliminated the coronavirus, after recent lockdowns in Beijing and Shanghai following a sudden spike.
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah warned the government not to rest on its laurels, saying the authorities should plan for the best while expecting the worst.
The government systematically eased its lockdowns subject to stringent standard operating procedures, starting with the higher levels of the education system. At the lowest level, kindergartens and play schools have reopened.
In between, many students have been forced to the new norm: distance learning. Some students appear to have taken to it, but overall, there is unease about its effectiveness. Teachers worked hard to prepare their classrooms as the lockdown was lifted, subject to stringent conditions.
Many tourist spots have suffered huge losses even after the lockdown was eased, despite initial relief, if not joy.
Habits learned painfully during the lockdown are not likely to be readily forgotten in the search for ease and comfort, especially by the younger generation, bursting with unbounded energy. It remains to be seen how environment pollution and the crime rate will fare after a respite during the lockdown.
But intense politicking and lobbying for power by political stalwarts has continued with relentless fury, showing that the greed for power is elemental, even primeval. This is in contrast to the Nordic countries, where the response has largely been civil and responsible.
In the US, President Trump represents the archetypical villain of the piece in this respect. The growing fear in the East is that despite his buccaneering, often crude, ways and failures on many fronts, he may be re-elected for a second term.
Covid-19 has not spared any one, touching every aspect of the lives of people everywhere, inexorably and relentlessly.
The UK has almost given up, blaming the planners for being unaccountably obtuse and clueless.
India, wracked as always by poverty and chaos, is fighting back with fury at an enormous cost to human suffering and mounting deaths. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, has staked all in his quest to subdue the dreaded coronavirus on its relentless march.
The world has been shaken to its core. Some miracle must happen. One is reminded in this regard of HG Well’s book War of the Worlds, in which invaders from Mars were crushed their bodies could not adapt to the contents of the earth’s atmosphere.
In the end, it was nature that rescued “Man, proud Man, dressed in a brief little authority”, to quote the great bard, ensuring in the process humanity’s continued survival. The great bard knows! He knows!
Veloo Saminathan is a former senior civil servant with a passion for writing