Wuhan virus membawa keluar yang terbaik dan yang paling teruk dalam jawapan bencana

pasaran makanan laut Wuhan ditutup selepas Coronavirus New dikesan sana untuk kali pertamaFoto: sistem

The global response to the outbreak of a new virus in Wuhan, China, has been a reminder of the merits of international collaboration. Sadly, it has also brought out some of the worst elements of humanity.

editorial

The impending threat of a fatal disaster holds a mirror up to humanity. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was a backdrop to a collection of stories of individual heroism and an outpouring of international grief and assistance. It showed the lengths that humans would go to save loved ones and strangers alike from certain death.

The recent outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus in Central China has invoked a similar response. With more than 5,974 confirmed cases across 17 negara, it has brought out the best in humanity and demonstrated the unprecedented effectiveness of international disease prevention mechanisms.

Walau bagaimanapun, it has also held a mirror up to ASEAN’s societies, providing a warts-and-all glimpse into modern anti-Chinese sentiment and the racist undertones that carry it.

Map charting the spread of Wuhan's coronavirus across the globe

The outbreak of a virus in Wuhan united the international scientific community

The rapid global response to an unidentified, pneumonia-like virus first detected in Wuhan, Central China has been unprecedented.

Within two weeks, the Chinese authorities formed an international consortium to look into the virus which swiftly published the genetic sequence on an open-access platform. Sebaliknya, during the SARS epidemic, it took Beijing five months to identify and share the genetic sequence of the virus.

Once a genetic sequence is identified, scientists across the globe can begin working on DNA anyanglysis to identify possible vaccine options and develop antibody tests to detect the disease in patients that are yet to show symptoms. tambahan, it allows laboratories to grow the disease themselves, instead of waiting for patient samples to arrive in the mail.

In the face of a global public health emergency, scientists and researchers have mobilised all the tools at their disposal to control the spread of the virus.

Karla Satchell, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Northwestern University in the US told the Washington Post, “this is really new… Lots of people [in science] still try to hide what they’re doing, don’t want to talk about what they’re doing, and everybody out there is like: This is the case where we don’t worry about egos, we don’t worry about who’s first, we just care about solving the problem.”

The results of this enhanced international health diplomacy have been staggering. There are reports that researchers at Purdue University in the US could have a vaccine ready for human testing within three months. It took scientists 20 months from the moment the SARS genome was identified to the first human vaccine tests.

Scientists put their egos aside, but so did the Chinese government

The lightning-fast scientific response to the virus can be attributed in part to the transparency of the Chinese government. Pada tahun 2003, apabila wabak SARS yang dijangkiti lebih daripada 5,200 orang di tanah besar China, Beijing dituduh mendalangi cover-up selepas kerajaan mengambil masa hampir lima bulan untuk mengumumkan wabak itu kepada orang ramai dan menubuhkan satu pasukan petugas untuk menangani penyakit ini.

Sejak itu, Beijing telah merangka pelan kontingensi peringkat negeri untuk mengendalikan bencana alam dan isu-isu kesihatan awam. Ia juga telah menubuhkan Sistem Maklumat China Kawalan dan Pencegahan Penyakit, yang sistem maklumat di seluruh negara yang menghubungkan hospital dan klinik-klinik dan trek wabak dalam masa nyata.

Kali ini, bukannya perlindungan ke atas kes yang disahkan, Beijing bekerja rapat dengan Pertubuhan Kesihatan Sedunia (WHO) dan cepat maklumat dengan pihak berkepentingan antarabangsa kongsi.

Lihat Wuhan di Hubei, China dari Yellow Crane Tower
Pemandangan ke Wuhan, wilayah Hubei.
Foto: Harald Groven

Pada hari Selasa, the WHO announced that Beijing had even agreed to let global health experts into the country in a move Chinese President Xi Jinping berkata was to prove his government was being “open, transparent” and “responsible” in its handling of the crisis.

The outbreak brought out the worst elements of anti-Chinese sentiment in Southeast Asia

The advances in international health diplomacy on display during the outbreak have been a cause for celebration. Walau bagaimanapun, the crisis has also illuminated the ugliest elements of anti-Chinese sentiment across the ASEAN region.

Within hours of the outbreak, social media was awash with users joking about the outbreak. Netizens merampas video seorang vlogger Cina makan sup kelawar dan mencadangkan ia adalah tabiat makan Cina yang telah menyebabkan wabak itu.

The vlogger dan influencer digambarkan, Wang Mengyun, adalah cepat untuk menunjukkan bahawa sup kelawar bukan hidangan Cina dan video itu bukan baru-baru ini tidak difilemkan di Wuhan. Ia telah difilemkan di Palau, Micronesia tiga tahun lalu, di mana sup kelawar adalah makanan istimewa tempatan.

Tetapi bagi peniaga sembang xenofobia, butir-butir tidak relevan. Ia tidak menghalang satu pasukan kecil tentera pahlawan keyboard mengambil untuk media sosial untuk berkongsi kepercayaan mereka bahawa ia adalah tabiat makan Cina dan kebersihan yang rendah yang menyebabkan wabak itu.

Jawatan lain melanda nada lebih berniat jahat. In Malaysia, beberapa netizens pergi sejauh untuk mencadangkan bahawa virus adalah satu bentuk "hukuman ilahi” over China’s treatment of the Uyghur population.

Some mosques in Malaysia have implemented a ban on Chinese tourists. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was quick to announce that any mosques limiting access to Chinese tourists were not acting on governmental advice.

Di Filipina, the government’s response has been disproportionate to the threat level. The Philippines has stopped issuing visas on arrival to all Chinese tourists. There have also been calls to block Chinese tourists from arriving in Malaysia and a petition in Singapore to ban Chinese travellers from entering the city-state has garnered more than 110,000 tandatangan.

Southeast Asia’s proximity to China means ASEAN nations must take steps to prevent the spread of the disease. Walau bagaimanapun, these steps must reflect the fact that the disease is the problem, not the Chinese people.

Masa terpaksa harus menimbulkan rasa empati, bukan ejekan - bagaimanapun, strain coronavirus dapat merebak dengan mudah di Asia Tenggara. Sekiranya ia melakukannya, Negara-negara ASEAN mahukan sokongan, bukan ejekan, dari masyarakat antarabangsa.