Is human-imposed isolation in China, Gaza & Kashmir backfiring?

Hyderabad: Nearly one billion people are in lockdown across the world. From Rome to New York to Paris people across the world are confined to their homes this weekend, as part of the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The new Coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 11,400 people so far has brought the world to its knees. Nearly 900 million people in 35 countries have been asked to stay at home, according to an AFP database.

In the US, the country’s three biggest cities, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are at a standstill and around 100 million people are stuck at home. China, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Belgium, Australia, Poland, and Spain have implemented the world’s largest and most restrictive mass quarantines.

Italy, the most severely affected European country with 4,032 deaths so far, was also the first European country to issue a full lockdown for the entire population.

Morocco suspended international flights on Sunday.

Kenya has closed schools and blocked non-residents from entering the country.

The Malaysian government has barred travel in and out of the country and shut down non-essential businesses.

Canada has shut its borders to anyone who isn’t a citizen, a permanent resident, or a US citizen.

Colombia closed all of its borders.

Denmark has closed its borders from March 14 until April 13.

Germany also closed its borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, and Luxembourg.

Kuwait banned all commercial flights.

Lithuania shut its borders.

Maldives is subjecting all passengers travelling to the country by air to a 14-day quarantine.

North Korea has shut down airline flights and train service with neighboring countries, and established quarantines for recent travelers.

Norway closed ports and airports.

Peru abruptly closed its land, sea, and air borders on Sunday, after issuing a state of emergency.

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Qatar stopped all incoming flights to the country and shut down shops in main commercial areas.

Russia closed its borders with China, Poland and Norway and also banned foreign nationals from entering the country from March 18 to May 1.

Saudi Arabia suspended all international flights.

Slovakia closed its borders to non-residents.

Ukraine closed its borders for foreign citizens.

The world-wide lockdowns, however, are not similar at all to that suffered by Gazans for many years, Kashmiris for seven months and the detention faced by the Uighur Muslims in China.  While the rest of the world is living with insecurity, “social distancing,” “sheltering in place,” and shortages of necessary goods, there are no accompanying bombs, shooting from across a border fence, no forced detention and no communication blockade.

For years, Gazans lived under Israeli-enforced confinement

For years Gazans, a population under Israeli-enforced confinement, have lived this way.

A Facebook meme reads: “To all quarantined Israelis who are “restless in isolation. Not sure how to cope” — please call the following hotline to reach “highly- experienced, Gazan enclosure experts”— “1-800-266-KARMA.” Gazans, due to years of Israeli-imposed suffering, can weather any storm, including potential confinement inflicted this time by an epidemic.

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China kept one million Muslim Uyghurs in detention

At least one million mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs are thought to be detained in China, with multiple layers of locks on dormitories, corridors, floors and buildings. Fences are put around each building, and walls around the compound. Inmates are kept at least a year in the camps, with round-the-clock video surveillance, before they can even be considered for “completion”, or release. There have been multiple accounts by people who passed through camps of torture, rape and abuse.

On January 23, when the coronavirus outbreak that soon became a pandemic was spinning out of control, China quarantined her city of 11 million. Started for a week, the lockdown in Wuhan continued for two months. Many other Chinese cities still face travel restrictions. Almost half of China’s population — about 780 million people — were under some kind of travel restriction as of February 17, according to an estimate by CNN.

India put Kashmir under lockdown

On August 5, the Indian government withdrew Article 370 of India’s constitution and imposed the awful curfew in Jammu and Kashmir. India has also been maintaining a media and communication blackout in the valley ever since. It is no doubt, both unprecedented and the longest internet blackout imposed by a democracy in the world.

But regrettably, the global community has yet not adequately responded to an inhumane lockdown imposed in the valley by India for such a long time.

A few days ago, a tweet probably made by someone heartbroken just went viral in the country which read “Dear world how is the lockdown? Kashmir.”

The statement epitomises the miseries and sufferings of oppressed people in Jammu and Kashmir who are under a strict lockdown for 7 months. According to a report in the Times of India, curfew and restrictions were imposed for 168 times in nine districts of Jammu and Kashmir in 2016 and 2017.

Now, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the Centre and state governments have decided to completely shutdown 75 districts across the country where coronavirus (covid-19) cases have been reported. It has also been decided to suspend the interstate bus services till March 31.

according to Health Ministry, the total number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 341 on Sunday after fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country.

On Sunday, millions of people across the country stayed indoors, streets wore a deserted look and bare number of vehicles were on the road in an unprecedented shutdown on Modi’s appeal for a ‘Janata curfew’ to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 13,000 lives worldwide.

This world scenario raises a big question; is the human-imposed isolation backfiring upon the world?

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