The coronavirus has become a global epidemic as the countries across the world scramble to protect themselves from the deadly virus. It is widely believed that the virus which originated from China has been caused due to bats. China’s eating habits are so gross as the majority of the population believe in eating everything that moves. Hence, it came as no surprise that when ‘Bat Soup’ was being served in the Chinese restaurants and retrospect, this is what led to the birth of the coronavirus.
However, instead of nipping the virus in the bud, the Chinese government attempted to downplay the virus in a bid to save face and now the entire world has to pay for the Chinese government’s lethargy.
The Communist Party of China is always conscious of the eyeballs and the coverage as they seek to place Xi Jinping as the sole global leader. The party acted vindictively when the first case of coronavirus was reported in Wuhan as it attempted to silence the voices of the doctors who had sounded out the alarm bells. The Chinese officials instead chose to put secrecy and order instead of openly confronting the epidemic just to avoid political embarrassment. The Chinese delayed acting against the epidemic by almost two months before deciding to quarantine 50 million Chinese to prevent the virus from spreading. The virus has killed 304 people alone in China and has infected 14,380 worldwide.
The Chinese government acted like a complete coward when they closed a market in Wuhan where the coronavirus was believed to have originated from under the garb of the renovation as officials continued to claim that the virus will not spread. However, just like the plight of Uyghur Muslims, the Chinese government couldn’t control the narrative as it became apparent that the Chinese government grossly failed to keep in check the spread of coronavirus.
By not moving aggressively to warn the public and medical professionals, public health experts say, the Chinese government lost one of its best chances to keep the disease from becoming an epidemic. “This was an issue of inaction,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations who studies China. “There was no action in Wuhan from the local health department to alert the people to the threat.”
The image-conscious Chinese government has seen coronavirus develop into a global epidemic which has sparked travel restrictions to the country as the rest of the world look to curb the spread of the virus. In a major embarrassment for China, Myanmar recently turned back a Guangzhou flight after some passengers showed signs of symptoms of coronavirus. The already deteriorating Chinese economy will be dealt a huge blow and the government is now planning to inject over $100 billion to revive the economy in the face of coronavirus.
Such was the delusion of the Chinese officials that when the first cases of the virus were reported, the Wuhan administration released a statement: “The disease is preventable and controllable.” As the virus spread in early January, the mayor of Wuhan, Zhou Xianwang, was touting futuristic health care plans for the city. When Zhou delivered his annual report to the city’s People’s Congress in January, against a backdrop of bright red national flags, he promised the city top-class medical schools, a World Health Expo, and a futuristic industry park for medical companies. Not once did he or any other city or provincial leader publicly mention the viral outbreak. Shortly after, Wuhan went ahead with a massive annual potluck banquet for 40,000 families from a city precinct, which highlighted how lightly the local leaders took the threat of the virus.
As the Congress was taking place, the health commission’s daily updates on the outbreak repeatedly said that there were no new cases of infection, no firm evidence of human transmission and no infection of medical workers. What’s more concerning is the fact that The World Health Organization’s statements during this period echoed the reassuring words of Chinese officials. While the Chinese officials and the WHO, ignored the virus, the virus had already spread as at the same time, Thailand reported the first positive case of coronavirus.
The Chinese government must be held responsible for the outbreak as its callous attitude has exposed the entire world to the deadly coronavirus. The Communist Party might talk of lofty dreams like the Belt and Road Initiative but it has failed to protect its own citizens.