Monday April 22, 2024

Global response to COVID-19: Uncertainties, planning, role of vaccines

August 31, 2021

Islamabad:Institute of Peace and Contemporary Affairs (IPCA) organised an international webinar on ‘United States Global Response to COVID-19: Uncertainties, Planning, Impact, Role of Vaccines & Recovery.’

The chief guest of the event was former Federal Mister, Senator Nisar Memon who said that over 4.4 million deaths have been reported worldwide due to COVID-19 of which the deaths in US have been 0.6 million. It is an eye-opener that US despite being the most developed state in terms of science and technology has been the most affected state. Vaccines were announced by China and United States in December 2020 and despite the fact that number of vaccines are available across the world, the availability of vaccines to the under-developed and developing world still remains a far cry.

He highlighted the fact that was WHO adequately supported by the United Nations to deal with such a crisis. A total loss of 11 trillion was reported worldwide in 2020 out of which the total loss of US was 3.2 trillion; hence US not only impacted in terms of human life losses but economically as well. China only reported a loss of $382 billion. India reported a loss of 98 billion while Pakistan reported a total loss of $18 billion. The worldwide loss in 2025 is projected at $28 trillion. Human life and economic loss should wake up the international leadership. It is a questionable fact weather funds provided to the countries included Pakistan are sufficient to tackle this issue. Moreover, the issue of climate change has also coupled with the COVID-19 crisis which is a serious challenge for the entire global community.

Former High Commission Ambassador Naela Chohan said that narrative carried out by Trump and Biden administration is a part of geopolitics. China tackled the pandemic remarkably as there was a coordinated effort from all the ministries of China. They were working with a motto of helping the people. Although the economic progress of China was slowed down by 1.1 per cent however, they were aware of the fact that it is temporary and the fundamentals of China’s long term positive, high quality remains unchanged. The social psyche, the political and the economic system of China all helped them however they must be seen through their own prism rather than viewing them through the eyes of the west. Crisis in US became grave because they lacked in their health care system, the polarized leadership and their concept of freedom of Choice within the society.

Group Captain (r) Sultan Mahmood Hali said that despite the fact that United States is bent upon blaming China for the origin of COVID-19 pandemic, it has been the world’s most affected nation despite the advancement of its science, technology and medical resources. It has suffered a total of 623,900 deaths so far in comparison to China which has only suffered a total of 5,676 deaths. He also said that the US has politicised the origin tracing process of the COVID-19 pandemic to such an extent that it has given rise to Anti-Asian hate crime in the US.

Public Health & Development Consultant Dr. Amanullah Khan said that on medical front China has turned out to be a great contributor to help the World fight the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s vaccines have already catalyzed immunisation campaigns in more than 40 countries as the country is targeting to produce nearly five billion doses in 2021. From March 1 to May 31, China exported protective materials to 200 countries and regions, among which there were more than 70.6 billion masks, 340 million protective suits, 115 million pairs of goggles, 96,700 ventilators, 225 million test kits, and 40.29 million infrared thermometers.

Assistant Professor National Defence University, Dr. Shafei Moiz Hali was of the view that a future free from the COVID-19 pandemic demands a coordinated global response and so far, the existing global politics and the US’s mishandling of its responses to combat the pandemic at home and abroad are proving to be a major hurdle. The administration in Washington couldn’t handle the pandemic at home nor did it take timely measures to aid others in need.

The webinar was attended by large audience from Pakistan, UK, United States, France and KSA.