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Successful Protection! But are We Capable of Protecting Ourselves?

Successful Protection! But are We Capable of Protecting Ourselves?

18 Feb 2020, 16:48
Successful Protection! But are We Capable of Protecting Ourselves?

The coronavirus epidemic in China has shown us how the state and society can rally together to fight this dangerous disease. More than tens of thousands of medical personnel from different regions of China have arrived in Hubei Province to assist the ailing. Most enterprises are working overtime to manufacture a sufficient amount of medical face masks, protective clothing, glasses and other necessary items. Active efforts are being made to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus.

The whole world was amazed to see a hospital with 1,200 beds go up in the middle of nowhere in Hoshenshan in just ten days. This module hospital is equipped with the latest ventilation system and sports intensive treatment, infection control and radiological diagnosis departments for the most serious cases. Those with benign forms of the disease are sent to converted exhibition centers and sports complexes (which has increased the number of beds to more than ten thousand). Patients undergo treatment for at least a week, even two weeks, and are kept in mandatory quarantine. The hospitals are using robots to keep contacts and the risk of infection to the minimum. They deliver lunches and medication to the wards, giving each patient the relevant dose and measuring their temperature. Robots from the Siasun Company, which have the ability to take throat swabs, are being put to the test in some hospitals.

According to the latest data from the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission, the mortality rate due to coronavirus pneumonia for the country as a whole amounts to 2.1%, which is two-tenths lower than two weeks ago. However, in regions outside the quarantine zone in Hubei Province, it is no more than two-tenths of a percentage point, which is the rate for common influenza.

The measures China is taking to restrict population migration in this difficult epidemiological situation are truly unprecedented. Multi-million cities have been closed down. Qihoo 360 and NoSugar Tech have introduced a platform that lets users check if they have recently traveled with someone who contracted the new coronavirus. A special application marks on a map the whereabouts of every person infected with the coronavirus. Regular disinfection, including with the use of drones, is being carried out in population settlements, at work places, in stores and on public transportation by the army and volunteers wearing protective clothing.

According to a report by the Chinese Ministry of Finances, the government will invest 15 billion dollars, in two installments, to fight the spread of the coronavirus. “The ministry will use the funds to ensure that every citizen can afford diagnosis and treatment,” the statement on the Ministry of Finances site says.

Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized that the country’s citizens must be recruited to fight the new coronavirus epidemic and that the people’s interests must be place above everything else.

What can the European Union do in the current strained circumstances between the superpowers and given all the major regional conflicts to counteract possible bacteriological, chemical and viral attacks? After the first three to five days of information attack on the world’s citizens, all we can say is that it is completely unprepared to counteract a global epidemic. It turned out that not one pharmacy throughout the European Union was stocked with enough special anatomic masks (they had all been bought up two to three days after information appeared in the media about the new coronavirus), respirators, necessary medications, special protective suits, helmets and gloves. I tried wearing such a suit myself and can say that without sufficient preparation you will find breathing in it very difficult. Training is needed in order to feel comfortable wearing one for any length of time. The current spread of the virus in China, like the situation in Germany and Great Britain in the 1930s, is prompting us to urgently organize training sessions for the civilian population regarding individual protection in the event of such epidemics, as well as manmade, climatic and military cataclysms. Warehouses of protective clothing and means of individual protection for the entire EU population must be created, and they should be provided free-of-charge if possible. There should be at least one hundred masks and one hundred pairs of gloves for each person, since they should be changed every 3-4 hours. NATO’s colossal budget has the resources for this.

A possible biological war, including the mass production, stockpiling and use of biological weapons is prohibited by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). In 1997, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC) was created. According to the data of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 97% of their global supplies have been destroyed. For example, according to the official information, the U.S. destroyed approximately 90% of its declared supplies of chemical weapons, and the process should be finally completed by 2021-22. On 27 September 2017, President Putin reported that all chemical weapons in the Russian Federation had been destroyed. North Korea, Iran… Can we believe these statements?

Indeed, most countries are party to the Conventions on the Prohibition of Biological and Chemical Weapons, but there is no way of knowing whether they are carrying out their obligations or not. This topic is highly classified, and there are no reliable data at present in the public domain. Where is the guarantee that bacteriological or chemical weapons will not be used, or that there will be no unsanctioned leak or terrorist act?

As the spread of the coronavirus has shown, people are utterly defenseless against the deluge of facts regarding infection. Military ministries are concerned about replenishing their armies with new types of weapons. But they are unable to protect their citizens from a virus—the simplest things, medication and masks are unavailable!

I have already written about the need for the EU countries to join into a single state with a single nation, language, culture, law and government—into a European state. The coronavirus incident in China confirms this need. The country’s government carried out an enormous number of measures to protect its population in the shortest time. How will we resolve such a catastrophe if it ever happens in Europe? With the help of 27 parliaments?

I am a supporter and, what is more, a lobbyist of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s idea to reinstate the long-standing Multi-Speed Europe concept, and I see it as saving the EU from collapse. Ms. Merkel is an extremely intelligent person. Within the framework of this concept, various countries will be able to adhere to different rates of development and integration. In my opinion, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Netherlands and Belgium should become the key states in the new formation. The leading Old World nations should begin integrating into a single state. And only then can the rest join it. Multi-Speed Europe will operate according to the principle “whoever wants more, does more”. Why does the European Union need such countries as Estonia, Latvia, Montenegro and the likes? They should either become members of the European state, or remain on its periphery. Unfortunately, all that the East European countries are producing at the moment is a foreign political stench.

The conditions for joining the new formation should include revoking the formation of a national government and parliament (only a regional parliament and government may function) and recognizing English as the second state language.

Let us imagine Europe as consisting of a Euro zone. This will be a state with a population of around 320 million people, a GDP of $12 trillion (the U.S. has a GDP of 19 trillion and China of 14 trillion). In other words, this will be an enormous contemporary world superpower. We Germans and the citizens of other European nations will find it easy to say “I am a European.” At the end of the 19th–beginning of the 20th centuries, we made the transition from calling ourselves “Bavarians”, “Saxons,” “Swabians,” or “Khanziats” to recognizing ourselves as a single nation and proudly saying, “I am German.” We can make a similar transition now.

When Great Britain begins to feel how provincial it is in a few years time, it will with no doubt come knocking at the door of the European state. Then this union will have a population of 380 million people. When, in keeping with the announced conditions and requirements, all those who wish to accede to the new union, the potential and population of Europe will double.

Some of our politicians and journalists are criticizing the Chinese leadership for violating human rights in the fight against the epidemic—what brainless people! The might of Chinese society lies in its ability to rally together in the face of a national threat. It is difficult to imagine what discussions—how to act and what to do—would unfold in a similar situation in Europe. A liberal policy is only possible if guided by high intelligence. However, more than half of contemporary humanity consists of oligophrenics, whom it is impossible to rally together.

Potemkin Alexander

Cofounder of the planetary environmental Hamburg Club, Hamburg

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