A diya show on Sunday night by itself meant little in terms of the huge challenge the nation and humanity as a whole face in these Covid times. The world is on edge, and for some reason India remains relatively less affected despite its proximity and close business links with China, the perceived source of the coronavirus spread. This is time to ensure there is no community spread and the virus does not reach out to more people.

The scare is growing alarmingly across the world. The virus having hit the US, Italy, France and Spain hard, is turning scary in the UK as well; where deaths due to Covid average around 700 a day in recent days, and the total put at over 4,000. Spain carries on with a matching tally. The US struggles with over three lakh infections. India’s infections totaled around 3,000 and deaths were at around 80, but this does not distract the nation’s attention from the perils of a huge health crisis in the making. With over 1.2million people hit by the virus worldwide, and fatalities totaling 65,000, the future is unpredictable. SARS with 800 deaths, was a small challenge.

Curiously, the world is witnessing the other side of globalization – a concept of humanity forming themselves into one unitary whole — a global village where their fates are more interlinked now than at any time in the past. What started off from China four months ago has put the entire world into a virtual lockdown; some three billion out of the total 7 billion global population in either a state of lockdown or in quarantine. The speed with which the societies mingle and move around the world until a month ago was phenomenal. The speed of the virus spread matched with the new speed, and spelled chaos and confusion — and an unprecedented global health crisis. Rather, the world was not prepared for such an eventuality. Huge sums being released by the World Bank by itself is no major solace to nations caught in a death trap.

The World Bank has predicted a global economic slowdown, a new season of recession affecting both the developed and the developing worlds. A big worry is how India would survive the present odds, with rating agencies projecting a fall in economic growth here to 2 per cent from the present moderate 5 per cent. A staggered relaxation of the lockdown after April 14 means activities will remain frozen for more weeks, if not months. Looks like tough times ahead..

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