Irresponsible actions in US, Brazil, Pakistan can undermine global efforts
When nations across the world are pulling out all the stops to flatten the coronavirus curve, it is incumbent upon leaders to refrain from any statement or action which could exacerbate the situation. But, regrettably, not all world leaders have been responsible or circumspect in their utterances and behaviour.
United States President Donald Trump’s tweets asking his supporters to liberate the Democratic states of Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota have been taken as licence to indulge in dangerous behaviour, disregarding norms of social distancing and easing lockdowns of businesses. This puts the lives of people at much greater risk. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsanaro has summarily sacked his health minister, Luiz Mandetta, an advocate of social distancing and isolation. Despite a high number of cases, Mr Bolsanaro has dismissed the virulent pandemic as nothing more than a “little flu.” Closer to home, in Pakistan, conditional congregations in mosques have been allowed, violating protocols laid down by the World Health Organization. Muslim countries across the world have not eased restrictions, and rightly so, and have got the full support of their clergies
This cannot be merely treated as the policy preference of specific countries, and their internal affair, for its consequences will be global. The spread of the coronavirus disease has shown the intricate ways in which the world is interconnected and interdependent. In a world where borders are still porous, even when one nation slips, it carries the threat of the rapid spread of the virus. The international community needs to collectively insist on the need for scientific advice to be followed. Political considerations, which are clearly motivating the leaders who are advocating dangerous behaviour, have to be put aside for now. This could mean the difference between life and death.