Spreading coronavirus a crime against humanity

UN should identify the culprit and punish it without delay

Published: 05:26 PM, 21 Mar, 2020
Spreading coronavirus a crime against humanity
Caption: An employee of the municipal company disinfects Piazza del Duomo, in Florence, as part of the measures taken by Italian government to fight against the spread of the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.–AFP
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A war of allegations and counter-allegations has started between the United States and China over the breakout of coronavirus, the century’s most deadly pandemic as a result of which about 11,000 people in various countries have died so far and the toll is rapidly going up by the day.

President Trump calls it “China Virus”, alleging that the world is “paying a big price” for China’s lack of transparency on the outbreak when it emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

Reacting to this, China accused President Trump of trying to “shift the blame” for the pandemic.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement: “Some people on the US side are trying to stigmatise China’s fight against the epidemic, and shift the blame onto China.”

“This approach ignores the great sacrifice made by the Chinese people to safeguard the health and safety of humankind, and slanders China’s major contribution to global public health”.

Geng said China has shared data with the US throughout the health crisis.

Some earlier reports had quoted Russia as saying that the US had set up a factory to produce germs.

Any country that is involved in spreading the pandemic has committed a crime against humanity and should be identified and taken to task without delay.

This can be done only by the United Nations.

The world body should undertake the responsibility without wasting a single minute through whatever mechanism it deems fit. And the international community should treat the culprit like a pariah.

China and the US should come up with proofs in support of their respective allegations for the convenience of the world body.

Apparently, over 3,000 Chinese citizens would not have died of the pandemic had the communist state been behind it.

Still the country behind the mischief should be identified and punished.

Action against the culprit is imperative to prevent recurrence of the tragedy in future.

According to Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to PM on health, so far corona has spread to 186 countries and a total of 11,431 deaths have been reported.

In Pakistan, there are 4,046 suspected cases of virus. Some 92,000 people have recovered as a result of treatment given to them.  

While the fight against the virus is going on and China is reported to have succeeded in controlling the contagion, a Pakistani hematologist has a ray of hope for those dealing with the problem.

Dr Tahir Shamsi, the head of National Institute of Blood Diseases and a famous transplant surgeon, has been quoted by an English language newspaper that the blood of recovered patients of COVID-19 coronavirus could be used to slow the spread of the deadly contagion.

“The body of a COVID-19 patient creates antibodies to fight off the virus. These antibodies in the blood of a recovered patient could be used to boost the immunity of the newly infected people,” Dr Shamsi said.

In medical lexicon, this technique is called “passive immunisation” which was introduced in 1890, he added.

This technique is used when there is a high risk of infection and insufficient time for the body to develop its own immune response, or to reduce the symptoms of ongoing or immunosuppressive diseases.

“We can save precious lives using this technique,” Dr Shamsi said, adding that the National Institute of Blood Diseases is fully equipped to successfully use this technique. “Doctors have saved hundreds of lives with the help of this technique in China since February,” he added.

Convalescent plasma taken from a recovered patient is believed to be rich in the antibodies needed to fight off the deadly infection.

On behalf of the National Institute of Blood Diseases, Dr Shamsi said they are ready to help the federal and provincial governments to fight off the viral outbreak which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this month.

Currently, there are no vaccines or proven therapies available for COVID-19.

“The National Institute of Blood Diseases formally wrote to the federal and provincial governments on Thursday to apprise them of this possible therapy for COVID-19,” he added. “We will also arrange awareness lectures through video-link for medical professionals in other provinces on this technique.”

Categories : Opinion
Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.