Bio security or social distancing

Every individual is responsible to regularly check himself for unusual disease symptoms and immediately report them to a medical professional

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By Masud Khabeki

Since the emergence of modernization and internet, we came across to new terminologies like cyber-space and viruses. We also developed many procedures or measures designed to protect the cyber-space against harmful attacks often describes as virus attacks. The effort to protect cyber-world from many malware and virus attacks is often called as cyber-security. The cyber-security is a type of management or truly a series of measures to protect against the entry and spread of viruses. It includes both protection of cyber-space and the individual end user, and to improve our practices and habits while using personal computers to reduce the risk of virus attack or infestation. The main aim of cyber-security is to protect cyber-space and to increase and protect businesses and individuals through the prevention, control and management of viral risk factors. These procedures are considered as a proactive approach to safeguarding and minimizing the risk faced by the cyber-space and its users.

Similarly, biosafety is another terminology or phenomenon concerned with the safety of human and environment from unintentional release of pathogenic microorganisms and biohazards faced by the world population in modern times. In 2018 there were a record 1.4bn international tourist arrivals (UNTWO). According to an estimate these travelers comprised or categorized in three different groups. The millennials (ages 24 to 35) travel the most, 35 days each year, but were followed closely by Generation Z travelers (ages 18 to 23), who travel 29 days each year. Generation X travels the least because of work, age and family commitments. The to and fro movement of people across the world had made global village vulnerable to many threats including the one we are facing now-a-days in the form of COVID-19. There are many bacteria and viruses that causes the disease and always transmitted to people in contact with carrier of these micro-organisms, the danger faced by people across the world is due to such type of virus called COVID-19, thought to have emerged in one of Wuhan’s food markets late last year in China. The virus is continuously travelling across the global village.

On the contrary, biosecurity is considered as the protection of human and environment from intentional release of biohazards by an individual. Every individual is responsible to regularly check himself for unusual disease symptoms and immediately report them to a medical professional. Individuals are also responsible for keeping their workplace, houses, vehicle and equipment clean and are held responsible for the management of their movement and their visitor’s movement on their workplace and on their property. Every individual is responsible to quarantine himself regularly and his/her environment and never allowed his/her food stuff and water to become contaminated with any kind of waste or disease. Thus violation of bio-safety measures could easily be transformed into violation of biosecurity. It is agreed upon that individuals have to adopt several politically controversial unifying bio-safety measures and responses to work for a safe environment across the globe. The nations and the global population have to facilitate a comprehensive biosecurity program that should represent a hierarchy of conceptual, structural, and procedural components directed at preventing infectious disease transmission within and across the urban-places, countries, facilities, regions, countries and continents. So, the global citizens have to follow a discipline to address the safe handling and containment of infectious microorganisms and hazardous biological materials.

As we are faced with pandemic in the shape of COVID-19, we have to explore few realities about such organisms responsible for destroying the whole fiber of the world. Viruses are infectious particles that consist of a nucleic acid core with a protein coat. They replicate in nature only within living cells, controlling synthetic processes of the host so that it produces more virus particles. Most viral diseases cannot be diagnosed on the basis of symptoms alone. As only few symptoms, can be attributed to viruses with some degree of confidence because most of the symptoms caused by viruses resemble those caused by numerous other factors. Two or more viruses or viruses plus other pathogens may infect a person simultaneously, which complicates both symptoms and diagnosis.

The virus particles, which are composed of a nucleic acid core with a protein coat, are very small, and only visible with an electron microscope. They are obligate parasites and cannot survive outside of their host and only spread due to people contact. Viruses do not divide and do not produce special reproductive structures they multiply by inducing host cells to form more virus. Viruses that causes significant disease become distributed systemically throughout the body. Furthermore, viruses cannot be controlled with medicines, but instead must be controlled through other management practices. Management options include prevention of introduction of virus into any material. Enforce social distancing among people at workplace or at home. Because viruses are transported widely through infected, often-symptomless people, known weedy hosts of viral disease in question. They should be isolated from the rest of the people or removed from the area of host group.

The coronavirus pandemic has threatened the entire world and had brought every country into a crisis. The crisis in-turn has created a human rights issue and the situation has become dangerous to deal with keeping in view the human rights violations in dealing with the pandemic. People could soon be arrested for a sweeping range of new offences, sparking troubling scenes in the world. This might sound like a strange issue to raise when the national priority is – understandably – how to stop the spread of coronavirus, treat the sick and tackle the hit to the economy. But since last month, when the governments across the world is busy in drafting emergency laws and regulations to grant police new powers – and more far-reaching laws are expected in near future – the potential has been building for a clash between liberty, privacy and public health measures. The authorities in Pakistan, now have the power to arrest and detain someone in violation of social distancing, arrest up to 48 hours, can impose fine.

Our law enforcement agencies have to restrict themselves from abuse of powers. Quarantines, which restrict the right to freedom of movement, may be justified under international law only if they are proportionate, time bound, undertaken for legitimate aims, strictly necessary, voluntary wherever possible and applied in a non-discriminatory way. Quarantines must be imposed in a safe and respectful manner. The rights of those under quarantine must be respected and protected, including ensuring access to health care, food and other necessities. The legislation has banned public gatherings, enforced social distancing, has widened police officer’s powers of detention and restraint, to give doctors powers to sign death certificates without seeing the deceased person’s body, to allow fast-tracked burial and cremation. People who refuse to self-isolate could be made to do so using the always contested “reasonable force”.

No doubt, government is facing a challenging situation and must take measures both to prevent the spread of the coronavirus while ensuring that affected people have access to the health care they need. Today, as we confront a global health crisis, we are strengthened by years of experience in dealing with floods and earthquakes that has shown us that even when problems seem insurmountable, change is always possible. The coronavirus is an invisible adversary. It knows no borders. And its rapid spread through communities sends the important lesson that our own health is only as good as that of the person standing next to us. In this way, the crisis also reminds us of our common humanity and connectedness, reinforcing the fact that humanity is a truly global trait.