In January this year, China had sought an apology from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and Danish artist Niels Bo Bojesen for publishing an image of the Chinese flag with its yellow stars represented by Coronavirus but the Danish newspaper chose not to oblige.
After the Chinese embassy had issued a statement addressing the newspaper and the artist responsible for the Coronavirus image asking them to apologise to the Chinese people for publishing the image, titled “Coronavirus”, Jacob Nybroe, the Jyllands-Posten Editor had responded by stating in the public domain:
“We cannot apologise for something that we don’t believe is wrong….We have no intention of demeaning or mocking the situation in China and we don’t think the drawing does that.”
Chinese Embassy in Denmark had said in its statement, “Without any sympathy and empathy, it (the newspaper) has crossed the bottom line of civilised society and the ethical boundary of free speech and offends human conscience,”
Notwithstanding the tiff between the Danish newspaper and China and the demand for an apology over the Coronavirus image, what cannot be kept out of focus is that the Corona pandemic has its root in Wuhan, China. The entire world knows that China had delayed notifying the World Health Organisation about the situation in Wuhan and everyone has reason to be concerned about the much discussed “goings on” in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
At a time when thousands have perished, so many countries have gone in for total lockdown, global economy has plummeted, and humankind is in the midst of a global war against COVID 19, which some even call the Chinese Virus, the G-20 leaders have chosen to remain quiet about the threat posed by countries indulging in research or maybe even production of biological weapons despite the Biological Weapons Convention.
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which came into force in 1975, is a legally binding treaty that outlaws biological arms, but after Coronavirus has spread across the world, it was widely felt that the G-20 leaders would call for an international mechanism to inspect the Wuhan Institute of virology and also a thorough investigation into the immediate and primary causes leading to the Coronavirus crisis.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, while addressing the virtual Summit of G20 leaders on COVID 19, this past Thursday, 26 March, called for an all-out global war against the pandemic. To tide over the adverse impact on global economy, he also proposed tariff cuts and removal of trade barriers.
“This is a virus that respects no borders. The outbreak we are battling is our common enemy. All must work together to build a strongest global network of control and treatment that the world has ever seen,” Xi said.
Xi went on to observe that the community of nations must move a swift pace to stop the virus from spreading.
China will share its knowledge, go for joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and also give assistance to other countries hit by the pandemic, Xi underscored.
Xi drew attention to China’s online COVID-19 Knowledge Centre, and said that it will be open to all countries.
US President Donald Trump who earlier had adopted a belligerent posture and was all out for trade barriers and a stiff tariff regime for China, took a sudden U-turn in his stand last week as he joined the leaders of the Group of 20 nations – the G-20 – for combating the Coronavirus pandemic by unanimously calling for “a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based global response in the spirit of solidarity.”
There are now more than half a million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 20,000 deaths. These are tragic numbers but let’s also remember that around the world more than 100,000 people have recovered. – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO, 27 March 2020
Addressing the G-20 Summit, Dr. Ghebreyesus, said the world must fight, unite and ignite; fight to stop the virus with every resource at its disposal, unite to confront the pandemic together. “We’re one humanity with one common enemy. No country can fight alone. We can only fight together.
The joint statement by G-20 leaders says:
- We will share timely and transparent information; exchange epidemiological and clinical data; share materials necessary for research and development; and strengthen health systems globally.”
- Consistent with the needs of our citizens, we will work to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, and work to resolve disruptions to the global supply chains.”
The resolve to pool knowledge and resources and go for enhanced cooperation between nations to combat the pandemic is laudable. G-20 leaders, however, do not appear interested at this stage to bell the cat and act decisively to find the answer to one big question: Who is responsible for the origin and spread of Coronavirus?
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Amongst children the data that we’ve seen from a number of countries is that the majority of children that are infected are experiencing mild disease, but we do have reports and there are some publications now that describe severe disease in children – Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO, 27 March 2020
There’s no question that the elderly and those with underlying conditions have been affected much more than other age groups but we’ve certainly spoken here before about the age profile of patients, the fact that in Korea 20% of the deaths were people under 60 years of age; in Italy the fact that up to 15% of people in intensive care were under 50 years of age. – Dr Michael Ryan, WHO, 27 March 2020
From the epidemiologic data that we have, from the viral-shedding data that we have we know that themajority of transmission, the drivers of transmission for COVID-19 are people who are symptomatic. That includes people who are in the very early stages of symptoms and the viral-shedding data supports that in the earlier stages of disease when people are feeling just a
little bit unwell and they haven’t yet had pneumonia and they’re certainly not hospitalised yet;those individuals are the ones that are driving transmission.
So it is really important that we follow all these measures where we keep our physical distance. Transmission of COVID-19 is through droplets, it is not airborne. Therefore someone who has these small liquid particles that come out of their mouth; they travel a certain distance and then they fall so that’s why we recommend the physical distance, to be separated so that you remove the opportunity for that virus to actually pass from one person to another. – Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO, 27 March 2020.
Every infection of COVID-1 presents an opportunity for onward transmission so even in younger populations if you do have mild disease and you think it’s no big deal, what the big deal is that you may transmit to somebody else who may be part of that vulnerable population, who may advance to that severe disease and who may die.
So every single person has a role to play in this outbreak in preventing themselves from getting infected and we’ve listed a number of ways in which you can do that which involve hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, physical distancing, adhering to the recommendations of the national governments. – Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO, 27 March 2020.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.