Australian Foreign Policy/ Foreign Affairs · China · Coronavirus · Immigration/ Multiculturalism · Nationalist/ Tribalist themes · Scott Morrison · United Nations

Inadequate Answers to the Coronavirus Epidemic

Hospital in Hubei province, 2019

As could be expected, the news-cycle for the coronavirus epidemic is extremely fast moving. Latest figures from the mainstream media claim 14,000 are infected; information from alternative sources suggest this figure is probably in the millions.

Recent numbers aside, this coronavirus epidemic has revealed much about how globalism operates as a first governing principle; one that Scott Morrison only interfered with when absolutely necessary (through limiting travel from China).

This unnerving subservience to globalism–the free movement of people, trade and finance–over national and even international interests was seen Friday, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) moved to declare coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

In declaring coronavirus a PHEIC, part of its statement read:

The Committee does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available. 

This is an absurdity, coming from the very organisation which exists to counter the spread of diseases such as coronavirus. Coronavirus began in China; due to international travel it has now spread to 23 other countries. So long as international travel continues with China, this disease will necessarily continue to spread throughout the world.

With this glaring gulf between WHO recommendations and common sense, the true nature of this organisation is laid bare.

WHO is not what it claims to be: an impartial agency that simply aims to “promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.” Rather, as a subsidiary body of the United Nations, WHO is completely committed to globalism–even if this means jeopardising global health.

WHO clearly feels impelled to mislead people on coronavirus: proposing obviously insufficient solutions to downplay the severity of the disease. This approach could be viewed in a few different ways.

In a certain sense, it is no big deal: for now, coronavirus remains unlikely to rival past epidemics that killed millions. So in the end, WHO’s encouragement against adequate measures will likely not produce too much in the way of casualties or public backlash.

In an alternate sense, it is a big deal: WHO proposing patently deficient solutions while the public is fixated upon coronavirus may weaken its institutional credibility and that of the whole UN.

Whether coronavirus will seriously undermine long-standing commitments to globalisation remains to be seen. But the longer coronavirus continues to worsen, and we get only inadequate answers from institutions that advance globalism–the UN, media and government–in turn, public confidence in the direction of such bodies will decline.

Due to this and depending on the scale of any reaction, globalism may come to be widely seen as a tenuous, dangerous proposition.