Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the Author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Defence and Security Alert Magazine, Owned by Ocean Media Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
The world now stands at 5.4M coronavirus cases and more than 300,000 deaths. As frontliners, politicians, and security groups battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people became unemployed and have succumbed to hunger, poverty, and depression.
Who would’ve thought that the virus would paralyze us on a global scale? Thus, causing tremendous economic and political impact across nations. Southeast Asia, like other regions of the world, was not ready for any pandemic and up to this day, leaders are still facing many complexities from the crisis caused by the infection.
The pandemic brought forth more tension between China and the US, rendered from their ongoing trade war. Though this drew mistrust for both sides, people were mostly sceptical and disapproving of China’s aggressive actions towards other countries and in the South China Sea-the recent sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat, their ongoing pestering of Malaysia’s national oil, the establishment of 2 Chinese districts in the Spratly Islands, Chinese naval activity near Taiwan, and their rounding up of Hongkong democracy activists.
These draw concerns across the globe, believing that China was using the pandemic as an opportunity to exploit the weaker nations while the rest of the world lurks inside their homes.
But despite the ongoing competition between the US and China, both have been providing funds and medical expertise to all ASEAN nations. The Philippines alone received more than $15.2 million pandemic assistance from the US, while China donated thousands of test kits, surgical masks, PPEs, they also sent medical experts to help enhance the country’s COVID-19 operations.
Though the pandemic brought economic and geopolitical consequences, people are actually more concerned with their own country’s struggle. Apolitical citizens, who are stuck at home, have become more engaged and critical about their government, some becoming watchdogs for corrupt systems. Many leaders have faced criticisms for their weak solutions, while other officials were commended for their quick and adept COVID-19 responses.
The war on Covid-19 is considered a history-altering event, but no one knows for sure how or when it’s going to end. Clearly, as long as a vaccine is unavailable, peace is at stake and sleeping safe and sound will, for now, be an illusion. What remains certain is that we have to survive by continuously living in The New Normal—always hopeful for better and much healthier
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