The Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread concern, depression and anxiety among people all over the world. A report from the World Bank estimated that 11 million people could fall into poverty across East Asia and the Pacific (World Bank 2020). Household isolation and Covid-19 illness in families with newborn children, combined with disruption to vaccine supply, healthcare staffing shortages, and enhanced infection prevention procedures are likely to significantly reduce opportunities for timely delivery of routine immunisation. The government should restart immunisation drives for children as quickly as possible and ramp up efforts to maintain a high immunisation cover and tackle malnutrition. The media should create awareness on regular and timely immunisation for children.
The education of children has also been badly affected as the pandemic demands social distancing. Online classes are being held for students but these classes are a challenging task both for students and teachers. Apart from that there are network issues, linguistic barriers, less physical participation, and uneven access to technology/ technical know-how, which impedes the education. Educational institutions and government agencies need to create a mechanism to provide some financial relief to students who cannot afford the internet or phones in order to keep the education system accessible for all.
Covid-19 could lead to a massive economic shock without any social protection. The population who have weak social protection system are much more vulnerable to disaster and the government should provide some security to them. The consumption pattern is also likely to change as due to poverty people would reduce their consumption and this would slow down economic activities.
While human life has come to a halt, the only thing which has gained pace is the number of positive cases and the deaths therefrom. However, amid all this catastrophe, the earth has found a new lease of life. Life forms other than humans are prospering, with birds and animals enjoying their natural habitat in peace again. The pressure on the environment has found a vent and the decrease in pollution levels globally is not to be missed. This lockdown has offered us many unexpected things as well, like connecting with loved ones while staying home. It is an opportunity for families especially for working parents to spend quality time with their children.
—The writer is a research scholar at Kashmir University. [email protected]