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January 28, 2020

Virus issues

Newspost

 
January 28, 2020

There are many unknowns surrounding the Coronavirus that is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China. The fact that no vaccine exists for it as of yet, and its similarities to other common infections – making it harder to detect – are only two of the many factors that have understandably led to widespread concern. China has already placed ten cities under lockdown, public transport has been shut down and movement restricted. Naturally, as a neighboring country and close trading partner, Pakistan must also be careful. Our healthcare system does not provide the highest quality of services, and a virus like this could be devastating if it is allowed to spread.

Measures have already been taken to screen travelers coming in from international flights. However, on its own, this might not be sufficient. For a disease like this, even the tiniest of slip-ups can lead to catastrophic results. We have a lot of cross-border trade with China, thus improving scrutiny over land borders must also be considered. Admittedly this is a logistical nightmare to manage for any state institution; the amount of traffic that moves between borders is virtually impossible to screen in its entirety. But checking travel logs and separating transports that come from the affected areas is still achievable. The government has started work on countering the spread of a virus, but there is still more that can be done to ensure that our people are protected from this contagious disease.

Azfar Siddiqui

Karachi