By Eddington Obaro Jonathan
THE computer age is slowly giving way to a new age, the age of virus. Not too long ago the world was fighting the Ebola virus, one of the deadliest viruses in human history.
All over the world, doctors, nurses and other medical personnel made huge sacrifices, sometimes at the expense of their lives, in order to rescue the world from the murderous hands of Ebola.
Today, the world is locked in a cage fight with the coronavirus. Nations have been forced to cut ties with other nations. Neighbours, friends and colleagues have been forced to stay away from one another. In Warri, a young man has been killed by military men for failure to stay at home.
These would have been unthinkable in normal times but these are not normal times. And as the world is still trying to unravel the mystery of the coronavirus, China, the home of viruses, has announced the birth of a new virus, the Hantavirus.
The coronavirus has generated so much discourse all over the globe. China said that it originated from the seafood market in Wuhan where wildlife is sold illegally. Sheclaimed that it may have emanated from bats or snakes.
However, pundits argue that China is not telling the world the truth. Their reason is that there was a lot of cover up on the part of China in the wake of the outbreak of COVID 19.
China made massive attempts to suppress the information from being leaked to the world: she ignored the reports of the outbreak for weeks and targeted whistleblowers. China destroyed evidences pointing towards her complicity in the whole drama. According to a Gravitas report, China destroyed the test samples of patients.
Moreover, pundits are pointing fingers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China’s only level four biosafety lab. They are of the opinion that the proximity of the site of the coronavirus outbreak to the research laboratory in Wuhan could not have been mere coincidence. They say that the 2019 novel coronavirus is a bioweapon developed by China but China, on her part, has refuted all these conspiracy theories.
In this drama, China appears to be selling a positive image of herself as a country with an efficient government, swift in action and able to curtail deadly diseases within a short span of time and with little casualties. China built a hospital in ten days, fumigated entire cities in a bid to fight the coronavirus and bounced back to normal life as though nothing had happened.
When other nations, including world powers, are still struggling to heal, China, the provenance of this disease, is already up and running and now in the business of producing face masks and ventilators to aid the recuperating process of other nations but not without economic gains.
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One is almost tempted to say that China is acting out a play script. The Chinese government wants the world to believe that its efficiency is the reason why the coronavirus did not spread so much in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities in China.
The Chinese government wants us to believe that efficiency is the reason why Chinese businesses bounced back to normal within a short span of time. But the world is not mentally retarded: the world is not a five-year-old child that believes everything you say. Even five-year-olds ask questions.
Furthermore, one cannot ignore the fact that China’s goal is to be the world’s number one economy. Since her admittance into the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has consistently locked horns with the United States of America. These two economic giants have been imposing heavy tariffs on each other’s exports.
In the process, America, like a nagging child, has been complaining of intellectual property theft and unfair advantages China bestows on her indigenous businesses, but China has remained an obstinate child who refuses to abide by the rules. The trade war between these two countries has shaped people’s assessment of the coronavirus outbreak.
In their views, SARS COV 2 is a weapon created by China to conquer the world. Even though there are no tangible evidences to back up this bold claim, the question remains, is China innocent of these allegations? The truth cannot always be proven and in this case, it is hidden in dark alleys.
Whether COVID 19 is a bioweapon aimed at world dominance or a natural disease that came to torment the world, China is to be held accountable for this global disaster. What was the purpose of China’s cover up, was it to protect Chinese citizens or to prevent the world from responding quickly to the outbreak?
Now that America has become a crippled giant, who benefits from the present realities? When the world finally defeats this deadly virus, countries would be hungry and thirsty and, like the Biblical Esau, would ask for “food” to gain strength for complete recovery and China would run to render assistance bearing her economic motive in mind.
Whose interest will have been served by the outbreak of COVID 19? No doubt, China has a lot of answers to give to the rest of the world. The aftermath of SARS COV 2 is still not very clear but what is clear is that the world has never experienced a global lockdown before now.
When America, United Kingdom, France and other world powers have recovered from this global illness and have learned to walk again, what happens then? Will America respond? Will UK, France, Spain, Italy and other nations hold China culpable for the mass destruction of lives?
I very much doubt that possibility. America is the only country with balls to consider a response but she will not risk that in an election year. Also, her businesses in China will weigh heavily on her heart, thus preventing her from acting wildly. Moreover, her economy is already shaky, and responses are very costly. This whole game was well played.
Jonathan, an English Language and Literature teacher, wrote from Port Harcourt