Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which has the ability to cause multiple diseases in mammals and aves (birds). In humans, coronaviruses can cause breathing infections that can be as meek as the common cold and also can be as lethal as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Symptoms of coronavirus vary from one mammal and bird to the other. For example, in chickens it causes respiratory diseases, whereas, in cows and pigs it causes diarrhea. The name coronavirus originated from the Latin word corona which means a “crown” or a “halo.” The 2D image of coronavirus looked like a crown, hence it got its name from there. Corona viruses were first discovered in hens in the late 1960s. The present day coronavirus type is actually Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It is infectious in humans and is the primary cause of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has been identified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). Till now it has caused almost 26,000 deaths worldwide and has caused many of the world’s most developed places to completely lock down. But that is the story of the developed places around the world, but the places which are mostly likely to get rattled due to this pandemic are the towns and cities of the developing world. Especially those places which have a high population density. This coronavirus pandemic started from the Wuhan City of China and then grew exponentially around the globe. Pakistan being a neighbor of China is most likely to get affected by it. The collaborative projects between China and Pakistan is one of the reasons why there is frequent to and fro movement of Chinese workers to Pakistan and Pakistani workers to China. Other than that, China is one of the biggest trading partners and an ally of China. Almost all the global watchdogs predicted that Pakistan will be 2nd or 3rd in the list of countries most affected by this pandemic. On the other hand, the healthcare system of Pakistan is in total shambles. And when we look at per capita income of an average Pakistani, the situation gets even more worrisome.
According to government sources, almost 25% of the population lives below the poverty line defined by the UN. Coronavirus came into Pakistan pretty late. Thanks to some effective measures taken by Pakistani government. But since today, there have been around 1296 confirmed cases of coronavirus which has resulted in 10 deaths so far. But keeping in view the current trajectory of this spread, the cases are very likely to rise. Its reported symptoms reported are Cough, Fever and Difficulty breathing (severe cases). Government has shown reluctance in shutting down the country for economic reasons which has attracted a lot of criticism from the media as well as from the opposition parties. Just recently, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan announced an amount of approximately Rs1.2 trillion to support the poor and help local industry to offset the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Government also slashed the fuel price by Rs 15 per litre. These steps are taken to ensure the welfare of the lower 25% of the population in this time of chaos and crisis. The interest rates of banks have been reduced, the cost of electricity has been reduced for the common public (first 300 units), 50 billion rupees have been kept for medical workers for necessary supplies, 25 billion rupees to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for the procurement of testing kits and other equipment to face the challenge of Corona virus. Opposition are still questioning the delay in these steps and are constantly blaming the government’s laziness to impose a lockdown for the rise in the total number of cases in the country. The government, on the other hand, claims that they have used a balanced approach to tackle this problem without driving the country into further bankruptcy. It’s a blame game going on around. But in all these debates and in all these fuss, the poor people of Pakistan are asking this question why there is a different set of laws for the rich and different for the poors. They are asking why poors have to wait in long queues to get themselves tested for this virus whereas the rich can get tested inside the luxury of their homes. People are asking questions from the government and most of the time they are left disappointed by the rulers. But one thing is for sure, that once this coronavirus pandemic is over, there will be a lot of questions to answer for the people who are in power and from the people who have been in power for decades.