When the country and the world is in tension, and anxious about the progress of the pandemic, it is good to consider certain ideologies and representations we would be influenced by. China at this point of time could be misrepresented because the outbreak of the virus began from the country. In 2002, there was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and in 2013, there was Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the viruses appear time and again, making us realize that we ought to be hygienic.
The President of USA, Donald Trump reiterated the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the pandemic when he very well could use the term COVID-19. But does his usage paint a different picture of China? There have been other epidemics and pandemics that have been named after the place they have originated from, like Ebola, Zika, and Spanish Flu. So it doesn’t really paint a pejorative picture of China. But it is high time to avoid such naming to be on a safer side.
If the virus was just Chinese it would have remained only in China but it has spread all over the world. It must have originated from China, but it raises concerns and awakens us from our slumber of how hygienic we are on a daily basis. Think for instance, our country; India. We cried the slogan from 2014 to 2019 “Swachh Bharat” to clean up the streets, roads, cities, towns, urban and rural areas. 2020 has proved fatal in this regard. Everywhere you see garbage thrown untreated, people spitting paan in the open, defecating in the open, therefore the need to constantly sanitize ourselves, wear masks in this time of the spread of the pandemic. Had we taken the ideology of “Clean India” more seriously and not just as a political agenda, we would have succeeded immensely to curb the outbreak.
Many religious sentiments too would be hurt in the process of this lockdown. But given the opportunity we can always look at it in a different way. Catholics all over the world are in the Lent season; a time to reflect on the passions, death and resurrection of Christ. Unlike the times we gathered in the Church to pray and participate in the Eucharistic celebrations or other services, and reception of sacraments. We would be required to stay indoors and pray with our families as mentioned in the Edit ‘Love in the time of Corona’ (Herald Cafe, 15 March).
Businesses are on a standstill, the department of tourism is facing a setback, education is interrupted no doubt, but all of it doesn’t mean we have lost the battle. Healthcare and products of safety like hand sanitizers and face masks might have vanished from pharmacies but they are not the only products to guarantee safe and healthy environment. One can resort to washing one’s hands with soap to keep oneself clean and use handkerchief to remain safe from the virus. Given that we are now virtually live than socially active we are presented with the growing number of cases and fake news regarding the virus. Although it is hard to remain unaffected by the content it is advisable to verify the information with experts rather than blind belief. Corona virus is just another virus that needs to be carefully and gracefully handled.