21 June, 2024


Too Little, Too Late – Global Leadership Found Wanting In The Face Of Covid-19

By Niresh Eliatamby

Niresh Eliatamby

How did it come to this?

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated quite conclusively that those at the helm of political systems prevalent in the world today are for the most part impotent in the face of an existential challenge such as this one. 

The world’s political leaders have failed. Our species now awaits deliverance by science.

Around the world, self-serving politicians have been found lacking in scientific knowledge and sheer common sense, which are required to take logical decisions without concentrating on their own narrow-minded goals of maintaining personal power or trying to appease voters in order to be re-elected.

Those who for many months refused to take Covid-19 seriously should be hiding their faces in shame today, including U.S. President Donald Trump, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, those who run the government of Iran, and the leaders of Italy and Spain. Almost every one of them chose to forsake their nations for political expediency, resulting in critical delays in action that were fully capitalized upon by the relentless Covid-19 virus.

In the short space of three months, Covid-19 has reached 203 countries and territories around the world as at 31st March 2020. Every single nation in Europe, North America and South America are now afflicted, as are Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re looking for a place to escape to, there are still a small handful of tiny island nations in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that haven’t recorded any cases – Vanuatu, Tonga, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Yap Island, Solomon Islands, Guam, Palau, Northern Mariana islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and Niue.

All that’s left in Asia are four states. You could try North Korea, which doesn’t report anything about anything; Yemen, which is being torn apart by war and has more serious problems than Covid-19; and the former Soviet states of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan that are not known for their openness in providing information.

There are also four nations in Africa that are blissfully reporting zero cases, due mainly to the fact that they don’t do much testing for Covid-19 and would thus be unaware if the disease were present there, namely South Sudan, Lesotho, Western Sahara, and Malawi. And of course, there’s still Antarctica.

Only a few highly-disciplined cultures have managed to claw back from the abyss and reduced the number of new infections dramatically, namely China, Japan and South Korea. A few other Asian nations, notably those of South Asia, have managed to keep the number of infections at minimal levels up to now.

Another fact that has been exposed has been the lack of influence of the World Health Organisation. Many countries simply don’t listen to the WHO, including the United States and many in Europe, and have yet to set in place the measures that have been recommended to prevent the spread of the disease. In fact, the WHO’s response has been less than satisfactory. It was not until 30th January, more than a month after the virus surfaced, that the disease was labelled a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’. It was not until 11th March that the WHO declared it a ‘Pandemic’, by which time 40 countries and territories in every inhabited continent had reported deaths.

The lackadaisical attitude of influential global leaders such as Trump and Johnson definitely helped the disease to spread, as many believed their assertions that Covid-19 was no more dangerous than influenza, despite the number of deaths clearly showing a mortality rate of 20-40 times that of the ‘flu. Trump’s continual denial of the facts led to horrendous decision-making and unpardonable foot-dragging that has spurred the number of cases in the United States to reach 165,000 by March 31st. The federal government has been much criticized by individual states for not responding adequately to their pleas for assistance and it was not until 29th March that a US Navy hospital ship arrived in New York to assist, by which time New York state had more than 50,000 positive cases and every single one of the 50 states was counting patients in dozens if not hundreds.

Interestingly, many Third World nations fared better with clearer decision-making. However, a glaring exception was Iran, where members of the government downplayed the seriousness of the epidemic until many of the Cabinet and parliament were themselves afflicted. The images of the Health Minister, visibly ill, announcing at a media conference that everything was hunky dory, and then admitting the following day that he was himself stricken, speaks volumes of the inaction.

And of course, China was the biggest culprit during the early days of the pandemic, when its officials ignored warnings by doctors who were treating the first patients.

On the other hand, draconian measures by some national leaders to contain the virus also resulted in critical issues for their populations, notably in India where there has been much criticism that hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in the cities have been virtually abandoned to trek hundreds of miles back to their villages during a nationwide lockdown that took many by surprise.

Quite shamefully, some of the culprits who helped spread the pandemic have included leaders of various religions, including a sect in South Korea and some clerics in Iran and India, who placed religion above the welfare of their followers. And all those who professed to have miraculous healing powers have now mysteriously disappeared.

So who or what will bring deliverance for mankind from this plague? We look to science for the answers, first for treatment of those who become afflicted; and finally through the development of a vaccine to prevent the disease.

When will that happen? No one yet knows. But one thing is certain: You can’t trust the promises of politicians, some of whom have already made ludicrous pledges that a vaccine will be developed in a couple of months!

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Latest comments

  • 1

    How did Mr Elitamby’s Radar miss the Swiss Pastor who came all the way to Manipai,to save the inhabitants in the Peninsula from Corona?.

    I am not sure about Science training of our Politikkas, although the previous Yhapalanaya of Dr Rani and Eagle Sira were bragging that all their Cabinets were all Scientific.

    But they must have been good in Arithmetic to be able to collect those Colossal Sums of money in the space of 5 years , including even money from the Life Savings of our EPF members .

    Prez Nandasena I know has at least some night school training in Computing in California.
    I also know that he is not a crook ,
    And would not hesitate to knock back Millions even from well wishers .

    He has done a tremendous job so far to keep the Corona under 200 with only 3 deaths.
    And it looks phenomenal in comparison to what is happening even in London and New York,

    Prez Nandasena must be thankful to the dedication and courage of our Medical Staff , the Tri Forces and the Police, who have stepped in big time to help Prez Nande to not only save the Nation from Corona , but also feed the needy whose Cash Flow is low..

    But I was stressed when I saw that Yahapalana UNP Team sitting with Prez Nande yesterday .

    They were among the best performers who did well during Yahapalana Rule.

    Wonder whether they went to offer any Science to Prez Nandasena and his Team.

    Anyway all I can say is May God Bless Nandasena and his Team.
    And give them strength to carry on their Good Work..

  • 0

    Who knew this? Certainly this is not a political virus from any country. Not even China! Xi is flabbergasted that it emerged from his country, and Trump is sympathetic. Both are trying to save the global economy, as both in the end are symbiotic to each other (once the parasitism of each is removed).

    One can thus deduce that a secret group,…..No, an esoteric global group in implicit acknowledgement of global overpopulation vs. current economic set-up vs. environmental, religious, cultural, moral pandemic, decided to play God!

    So the dirty and disgusting weird and forbidden-flesh market in Wuhan was decided on, together with experimental virulent laboratories. And Woosh : Virus was sent forth to depopulate the world and screw economies. And esoteric group chanted ancient texts and performed ancient rituals. But that China has few cases midst its 1.5 billion population might beg another scenario.

  • 3

    Niresh, The only people who are worth talking , leave alone crediting are the front line people including medical, paramedical, security, activist, social health promoters ,essential goods suppliers and so on (not the charity givers (most who are in the adverse list who do the wrong things but at the end write a check to look great, writing checks are not same as sacrificing life) who are battling this crisis, sacrificing them and their family to keep others alive. The worst are the politicians , so called religious leaders/preachers ,rumor mongering public,misinforming media, exploiting politicians, people who just do not abide by recommendations, guys who go around and call it “mass hysteria”, The infected preacher and followers who conducted prayer meetings, The fanatics who had an international get together and infected the whole nation/India (second week of March just days before WHO declared pandemic), WHO who is corrupted with donations and aide money, China the epicenter hide all the warnings until it could not do so anymore, Trump who is concerned for his own business more than country, Boris who tried to manage Corona like Brexit, India where poor people were sprayed with chemicals ——etc. When few dedicated people are working not just against Corona but much virulent Human pathogens (who are hellbent in sabotaging) what results are we expecting ???

  • 1

    No doubt coronavirus is a challending task to be dealth with. Till now the world leaders and scientists have taken measures which are in the nature of defensive methods. There is no other way. But some countries in South Asia (which are densely populated and considered as land of love, compassion and charity) preferred natural healing. Spirituality comes within natural healing power. When spirituality is mentioned, it includes vegetarian food, Yoga and meditation. As such, why not the scientists try the Indian ancient scientific method of healing. For instance, the wearing of Rudraksha bead is one of them. Since Rudraksha has the force of driving out the negative energy to a distant of 100 meters, it is considered as an offensive method of destroying the coronavirus. I am not a medical expert. But why can’t the scientists revise and renew the ancient scient science adopted by the sages and seers for the benefit of mankind. After all, coronavirus is also like a flu and threatening the world. What is wrong if vegetarianism is practised and wearing a Rudraksha bead, while engaging in a scientific research on Rudraksha. I heard there are many medicinal values in Rudraksha. Rudraksha is considered as a precious gift of Lord Shiva. I am sure there will be an answer if some scientific research is done on Rudraksha.

    • 1

      Ayathuray Rajasingam, This is not the time to experiment with your old beliefs. You’ll have time to validate or rule out the ancient ‘science’ once we get over the present crisis with tested methods. For now keep quiet.

    • 0

      Ayathuray Rajasingam,

      “As such, why not the scientists try the Indian ancient scientific method of healing”

      The moment something comes from an Indian, the whole world except Sri Lanka, considers…eww..another BS from a b-sh1tter. When Lord Shiva never existed, how come he gave a “precious gift”?

      • 1

        ghk & Thappu,
        Whether Lord Shiva ixists or not is not the issue. The issue is whether this corona can be cured. When God created the beings he also created plants and trees for mankind to explore it in times of emergency like natural disaster. We do not know whether Coronavirus originated from China or from somewhere or whether it is a biological weapon by which country. This virus is trying to find a home inside the humanbody and the issue is how to get rid of it. Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human knowledge of the physical or material world through observation and experimentation. Today scientists are struggling to find out. They may be success in the long run. We should remember that at this crucial hour that the secret to happiness is to value what God had given us. It is a problem that man fails to value what he does not have which leads to viewing cycle of unhappiness. As far as I am concerned I have faith in Lord Shiva. One need not have fear about coronavirus. One must have the will power & determination to confront it. That is why we utilize whatever God had provided us. Rudraksha is one of them. It has the force of protecting the respiratory system and drive out negative energies. These are the findings of sages and seers which should now be revised and renewed.

        • 0

          Ayathuray Rajasingam, I do not know why you have gone at length to tell me of your belief. Your belief has no scientific foundation. Shelf it.

          • 1

            There is some hidden truth in what Ayathuray Rajasingam said. Someone should explore it.

  • 0

    World leaders don’t understand the importance of testing.

    Germany 50,000 per day
    UK 10,000 per day
    Sri Lanka 100 per day

    Clear example of being a third world developing country.

    However we are arresting 200-300 curfew violators a day !!

    Have we got our priorities right?

    • 2

      Nimal Perera

      “Have we got our priorities right?”

      No Never.

  • 0

    Niresh, on the positive side, the Mother Earth has got much needed rest. Apparently lower Human seismic activity, can now , well be appreciated by satellites. The canal waters of Italy are little clearer, Pollution levels dipped in Chinese atmosphere . Even where I live right now ,I hear unusual chirping and cooing of birds,which had disappeared for some time. Last but not the least, EXCEPT for Silly Lankans people around the World may mature,gain experience and learn, in such adversities, so that they thrive by living a better life. (includes doing the right thing)

  • 0

    “And of course, China was the biggest culprit during the early days of the pandemic, when its officials ignored warnings by doctors who were treating the first patients.”
    Were there other ‘culprits’ at the time?
    The likelihood of human-to-human transmission was rejected despite the claim by ONE doctor. That could have happened anywhere, especially when death rates were still low. It was corrected at the soonest when the error was detected. Action was prompt and efficient.
    Compare this with the callousness of the US leadership, not just Trump. It is a failed system of public medicine there.
    Notably, Spain privatized hospitals not long ago.
    The virus has urban sources in all countries. South Asian spread rate has other factors (like temperature) that come in for the survival of the virus in the open.
    The author has grossly oversimplified the matter.

  • 0

    “The world’s political leaders have failed. Our species now awaits deliverance by science.”

    The problem is that China hid the extent of the virus in the beginning phases (around December). Many countries incorrectly assumed the virus was limited largely to China. Secondly, WHO waited far too long to declare a global pandemic. The pandemic designation should have been declared in January.

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