• By : Zahid Ahmad
he COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human lives and presents an extraordinary challenge to public health, and the world of work. Due to this deadly virus, millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty.
This pandemic has an unusual way of stroking the entire world. Crises have spread rapidly, disease load and casualties are still , and crisis influence is spreading across developing countries. Around the globe, the reactions, perceptions, and outcomes are distinct. The outbreak has reflected unfavourable mental health impacts and symptoms, it has also affected the healthcare that is treating the patients suffering from diseases other than corona.
The power and severity of slowdown varying from being temporary to a long-term recession, they are unanimous about the fact that the slowdown would have an intense impact amongst various sectors of the economy. Most importantly, panic among consumers as well as the long pause has disfigured standard patterns of our economy. Let us take a simple example of our own valley, thousands of people associated with private sector face an existential threat, and and are at risk of losing their livelihoods, even without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many are unable to feed themselves and their families. For most, no income means no food, or, at best, less food.
The pandemic has been affecting the entire system and has laid bare its fragility. Trade restrictions and confinement measures have been preventing every sector from accessing markets. As breadwinners lose jobs, fall ill and die, the future of millions of families is at great risk, particularly the most marginalized populations, which include farmers and indigenous peoples, being hardest hit.
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Now is the time for global solidarity and support, especially with the most vulnerable in our societies, particularly in the emerging and developing world. Only together we can overcome the intertwined health and social and economic impacts of the pandemic and prevent its escalation into a protracted humanitarian and food security catastrophe, with the potential loss of already achieved development gains.
Economists and activists have been very vocal on the need for direct income transfer to the poorest sections of society, at a time when many livelihoods have been disrupted by the halt in economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Immediate and purposeful action to save lives and livelihoods should include extending social protection towards universal health coverage and income support for those most affected. At a meantime, particular attention must be paid to the situation of low income families, who are over-represented in low-paid jobs and care roles. In designing and implementing such measures it is essential that governments work closely with employers and workers.
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