As the COVID-19 pandemic spread from one country to another last year, it became a truly global phenomenon, threatening the nations and people simultaneously. Coronavirus has triggered health, social and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions, which made the people practically realise that the human race is sharing the same planet and is facing same predicament. This is because the world is increasingly becoming interdependent not only economically and technologically but also from the security point of view. When one nation is hit by the pandemic, other nations also face the threat from the virus owing to its propensity to travel fast and strike down more people. So the saying - no country will be safe, until all are safe – is gaining currency these days.
The virus respects no borders and nationalities. Still the countries shut their borders and impose a ban on air travel to keep the virus at bay. Of course, control of border is one key measure to keep the movements of people in check. But the pandemic is unlikely to be contained with the efforts of a single nation. So it requires international cooperation and solidarity. It demands the science-based coordinated global response and support. This brings to light the importance and utility of the global institutions and mechanisms. The multilateral institutions have their crucial role in ensuring health services to the people in the time of this global medical emergency. The developing and least developed countries or those post-conflict nations are not well prepared to tackle the threat of pandemic or similar crisis. As the pandemic hit them out of the blue, their health systems start to creak under the strain and the people are at risk of being deprived of standard physical and mental health services. Therefore, they are in the urgent need of medical supplies to contain the virus and reduce the number of infections and fatalities.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has stressed meaningful and enhanced global partnership to support the vulnerable countries and societies hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While speaking at the 26th International Conference on the future of Asia that concluded the other day, PM Oli called upon the governments of the advanced nations to come forward with maximum flexibility in fair distribution of vaccines and waiving intellectual property rights for production of vaccines in developing countries, according to the news report of this daily. It is imperative for the international community to roll out some sort of pandemic response fund to provide relief to the severely affected nations. In this interconnected world, all nations should rise to the challenge to deal with the crisis collectively.
Another important point the PM raised during the virtual interaction is the relevance of Asian values in the time of medical crisis. He said: “The time-tested Asian values of fraternity, peaceful co-existence and sense of equity and justice are proving once again their merit at this moment.” The Asian values are marked by collective cooperation, harmony, discipline and primacy of the larger public good. These attributes need to be invoked and embraced by the countries to counter the pandemic through support to the friendly nations and neighbours. As the worst-hit nation, Nepal has sought vaccines, diagnostic tools, oxygen and other critical medicines to protect the people from the pandemic.