The number-one topic making the news today and being discussed by the general public all around the world is the development of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and the impact this epidemic will have on the economy and international relations in general.
Perhaps one of the most hopeful messages to be heard in the international news thus far was a news report broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV), announcing that clinical trials have gotten underway to develop the first coronavirus vaccine. There was of course also the good news that the number of people infected with coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan is falling, and the first wave of more than 3,675 healthcare workers from all over China who came to the Hubei province to help fight coronavirus went home on March 17. Let’s not forget that according to experts, more than 75,000 people were infected in Wuhan alone, and more than 42 thousand specialists from other cities and provinces in China were sent to this epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak by Beijing. With all of these commendable achievements, China has certainly shown the world that it is capable of quickly mobilizing its people and resources to overcome the challenges of a dangerous new situation.
At a press conference in Wuhan, Chinese doctors noted that European doctors are repeating the mistakes made in China when the novel coronavirus began to spread. The main issue they were referring to is that there is not enough being done to protect healthcare workers who are constantly in contact with the people who have the infection, especially otorhinolaryngologists. Due to a shortage of personal protective equipment and not enough knowledge about how the virus is transmitted, thousands of medical workers contracted the coronavirus in China within the first few weeks of the epidemic. At least 46 of them died. Let’s remember, by now there have been more coronavirus cases recorded outside of China than within China itself. By March 17, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world had reached 167,511, while the number of cases in China stood at 80,881. The number of coronavirus deaths reached 3226 in China, and 6606 worldwide.
Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui recently shared some insights into China’s experience in fighting the coronavirus with the Russian media, noting that the measures taken by the Chinese authorities to contain the COVID-19 epidemic have achieved a positive result, adding that the impact of the coronavirus on the country’s economy will be short-term, and that it has had some unexpected advantages for certain industries, such as the explosive growth in online sales amid the epidemic. At the same time, Ambassador Hanhui highlighted that some countries and Western media outlets began stigmatizing China during a critical stage of the global epidemic, and even launched racist attacks in an attempt to exploit the epidemic and use it to spread a “political virus”, but all this has shown the Chinese who their real friends are. The Chinese Ambassador commented on this behavior, saying it is very unfortunate that the people who have used a human catastrophe for personal gain have been able to influence international public opinion and distract the world without taking the responsibility they should for the international impact of their actions.
On March 17, Chinese officials condemned US President Donald Trump for using the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which has already spread to more than 150 countries around the world. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that this wording stigmatizes China.
Given the fact that it has not yet been possible to pinpoint what actually caused this epidemic that has engulfed the world, the question of whether the United States could have played a role in creating this virus as a biological weapon remains very relevant discussion in many news articles. For instance, the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar conducted its own investigation into America’s involvement in troubling global events, with a particular focus on the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland.
When trying to determine where coronavirus infections could most likely have come from, Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Health highlights that Kyrgyz citizens who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia after the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca could have brought the infection to Kyrgyzstan.
According to reports aired on the German n-tv channel and published in Der Spiegel, dozens of tourists from Denmark, Germany and Iceland who visited the Austrian ski resort town of Ischgl in Tyrol state were diagnosed with the coronavirus when they returned home. As a result, the Tyrolian officials have come under scrutiny for not having warned travelers about the coronavirus outbreak sooner.
Many experts are particularity concerned about the situation with the coronavirus in India, an extremely densely populated country of more than 1.3 billion people, with about 176 million living in extreme poverty.
As the coronavirus continues to spread quickly throughout Europe, the heads of EU member states have supported the European Commission’s proposal to ban foreigners from entering the European Union for a period of 30 days, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced Germany will be implementing.
The German capital has seen the first refugee camp evacuated due the coronavirus after an asylum seeker was hospitalized with a suspected case of the coronavirus.
The French have gone even further: anyone in France who wants to leave their house will have to carry a special signed form with them, detailing the reasons why they need to go outside. You also need to specify your first name, last name, date of birth and address on this form, which can be downloaded from the Interior Ministry’s website to print out and fill in.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the British scientist and epidemiologist Daria Tserkovnaya, who is a research affiliate for the Vaccine Confidence Project, an interdisciplinary research group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has called on parents not to leave children with their grandparents, as elderly people are the most vulnerable members of society and their contact with children needs to be restricted.
Ukrainian authorities seem to have forgotten about all the Ukrainians stuck in Germany, Poland, Egypt, and Turkey, who are flocking to the Ukrainian embassies and turning to the media for help to try and get back to Ukraine. As a report in the Turkish Daily Sabah highlights, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has responded with his usual absurd behavior instead of offering real support, urging his compatriots to make babies in COVID-19 quarantine, which he said is a nice chance for them to fight the “demographic crisis”.
Unfortunately, it must be acknowledged that the press in some Western countries have seen an opportunity in this situation with the coronavirus, and are resorting to traditional biased journalistic coverage of real events and subversive propaganda campaigns. British and American Journalists are now paying the price for dishonest journalism. The Egyptian authorities have revoked Guardian correspondent Ruth Michaelson’s press credentials, who can no longer work in the country over cited false information about the situation in Egypt with the novel coronavirus. The State Information Service (SIS) made this announcement in a statement on Tuesday. New York Times Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh was also issued a warning for posting similar data on Twitter.
It is worth noting a shockingly cynical Facebook post written on 16 March by Tamara Lyalenkova of the Radio Liberty Russian-language editorial office in America, who has been working with the American media since 1997, which attempts to justify the murder of elderly people who have contracted the coronavirus. In Lyalenkova’s own cynical words: “We will lessen the load on the planet.”
Vladimir Odintsov, expert politologist, exclusively for the online magazine ‘New Eastern Outlook’.