March 2020 marks the first Movement Restriction Order (MCO) initiated in Malaysia, affecting nationwide emergency to flatten the curve of the cases. Throughout last year, many states underwent changes in restrictions such as inter-district crossing ban, limiting people in cars and so on. Among the Malaysian towns affected by the pandemic are Bandar Puteri Puchong, Glenmarie and Desa Park City.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging since its first outbreak originating from Wuhan, China and shows inconsistent changes in the number of cases in every country. The virus propagates from China (early 2020) to the west coast of the US and Europe, later to the east coast of the US. To control the virus, the wealthy countries shaped the global public health responses by minimizing physical contact or person-to-person viral transmission via respiratory excretions, which consists of social distancing, wearing face masks, frequently washing hands for 20 seconds, stay at/work from home whenever possible, isolation for the infected and quarantine for their contacts and economic lockdowns involving non-essential business closures so as to not dramatically plummet the global economy.
The virus first struck the world’s wealthiest countries, such as first-world countries which recorded one of the highest cases and death counts succumbed from the pandemic. For instance, the United States of America with a whopping 23,848,410 confirmed cases and 397,994 deaths as of January 15th, 2021. If even the US is just as worse at overcoming the pandemic, most likely from their global interconnectedness like trade and tourism, questions arise about the third-world countries and how they handle the outbreak.
Third-world countries (or least-developed) are labelled as the world’s most vulnerable countries due to their poor living conditions and their lack of capacity to respond to a global pandemic. With travel bans being enforced, borders being shut, declaration of national emergencies and movement restrictions cause the countries to be at a threatening state where they are helpless to external shocks due to their limited means to respond to the widespread peril. The insufficient resources they have to bear such as financial means, high debt levels and weak health systems brought upon the negative impact in terms of a health crisis, socially and economically and containment policies in months and years to come. Other matters that are also affected by the pandemic for the long term are education, human rights, food security and economic development.
Although the precautions mentioned before have proven effective in wealthier countries other than the US and Europe, it is not guaranteed the same applies to the less wealthy ones at reducing viral transmission as well as getting a hold on the overwhelming surge of the COVID-19 cases.
Here are what has been happening to the third-world countries while the pandemic is still running wild:
The Virus Spreads Faster
It is underreported, but the COVID-19 mortality in the developing countries is at stake with three-quarters of the 100,000 daily new cases. It is steadily rising to the point that it is worrisome. Despite that, the governments are lax at the restrictions to consider the negative financial consequences. India is worth mentioning in this case as it lifts its lockdown the same day the infection rises.
The Townships Are Crowded
The population in third-world countries live in small makeshift homes with a distance of less than one meter apart, which is insufficient to comply with the social distancing requirements. Other than that, communal toilets and water taps are used by more than 30 people a day. There are also those with essential jobs outside of their townships where they often need to travel daily at long distances using public transportations to their workplace.
Inadequate Health Resources
The health resources in developing countries have been lacking way before the pandemic occurred. They warned of the deficiency in their health care infrastructure, thus there is insufficient equipment to suppress the lethal virus.
As much as we are at the lowest risk of getting infected by the virus, no matter how safer we are, the third-world countries need as much urgent help to survive through the COVID-19 pandemic.