As we stepped into a new year, little did we know about getting hit by a major pandemic, that too one without a cure. What started in a busy city of China, Wuhan, slowly made its way to affect other countries as well, hence proving that trade is not only about the exchange of goods and services. Coronavirus has scarred us mentally and emotionally, if not physically. It has etched its mark on history for its contribution towards a standstill of the world economy.
On being declared as a world emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), countries have resorted to lockdowns urging citizens to remain at quarantine, maintaining social distancing and proper hygiene, and avoiding crowded places. The lockdowns have disrupted “normalcy” in people’s lives but it goes beyond the fact that we might have neglected the populations that are most vulnerable to this pandemic.
A recent interview with Wendy Parmet, a distinguished Northeastern University’s Professor of Law and Public Policy and Urban Affairs, has highlighted the fact that detention shelters and prisons are also a major at-risk population that is ripe for the further spread of the virus. Adding to the list are migration workers, homeless people, and immigrants who cannot isolate themselves and this virus thrives on that making them more vulnerable. Diseases have no boundaries of class, creed, race, or ethnicity, the more disease we allow, the more risk everybody faces.
People, who are healthy, have health insurance, shelter, and most importantly money, are better off, but this is an extraordinary time demanding extra-ordinary measures. Lowering of the population in prisons, detention centres, provision of hygienic food supplements for the migration workers, immigrants, and homeless people who are stuck at various places are some measures that can be initiated by the government. This is not only a fight against the pandemic but also a time to show that humanity still exists.