Covid-19 has been a monster for the past several months now. It has forced the entire globe to stay indoors. Quarantine and curfews have compelled numerous businesses to halt all operations, and until just a few weeks ago, some virtual stores were capable of delivering locally and partially to a few nominated zones while brick-and-mortar stores were forced to partially shutdown, dampening the hustle and bustle of top crowded marketplaces of the world. Not only that, but the death toll is still mounting up in some countries, as this unprecedented outbreak continues to spread.
These are some of the drastic consequences of the current pandemic that the world is struggling to conquer.
In this post, I am going to highlight four momentous lessons that the world should focus on after enduring this crisis. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
First Lesson: Invest More Toward Invisible Enemies:
Most countries prioritize armament toward visible enemies compared to invisible ones. Coronavirus, the virus that struck our planet months ago and that many countries are still struggling to contain, may want to convey an important message to us that from now on: all countries should consider investing more money to defeating invisible foes.
To succeed in the next biological war against any potential upcoming epidemic, countries should boost the health expenditure share of their total budget. This will hasten the development of the medical and scientific research, which, in turn, will lead to more awareness regarding how such evil germs behave and how we can meticulously counter their attacks to break any invisible jeopardy in the future.
Countries should realize the fact that subsidizing the health sector will not only save people’s lives, it will also positively affect the overall economy. Simply put, healthy people will lead to more productivity and therefore a more stable and powerful economic system.
Second Lesson: Legislate Pricing to Curtail Monopolies:
Authorities should think again about forming a new law that shrinks monopoly and pricing chaos. A real conspicuous example of this what we’ve seen during the recent pandemic when costs of most indispensable healthcare products, like hand sanitizers and face masks, are irrationally overpriced.
I’m not saying that the prices should remain intact; I know that there exist inevitable obstacles in the manufacturing and shipping of such products during disasters. Furthermore, I understand that such a crisis is a great opportunity for merchants to make an extra profit when there is peak demand. However, it is immoral to increase the prices 1,000% up or even more just to get rich on the shoulders of people who need it the most, leaving them with two major dilemmas: get the coronavirus itself, or pay the unreasonable cost to confront it.
For many low-economic countries, such a monopoly is deemed a crucial problem. For instance, In Sidon in southern Lebanon, where I live, there are many hand-to-mouth people who can barely afford to buy the necessities for their households, especially during the growing economic hardships and the extraordinary protests that have gripped the country since October of 2019. Given the aftermath of such a monopoly, many impoverished people have found it unaffordable to purchase basic healthcare products and have shifted to buying cheaper, cloned products which unfortunately do not perform properly in protecting against the virus; it can instead cause the spread of it! Ideally, this puts a further burden on the healthcare sector, as they have to deal with and treat the increasing number of patients.
Legislators should formulate a win-win pricing policy that permits traders to make reasonable profits while monitoring and keeping the prices affordable for all people.
Third Lesson: Building a Cutting-Edge Virtual Learning Infrastructure:
There is a great proverb that perfectly fits into our situation that says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, people have been forced to stay indoors and the lockdown has triggered educators to teach their students remotely via the Internet. For the younger grades, shifting to virtual education has been like a nightmare. Both students and teachers have expressed their gripes because of the complications encountered, such as poor Internet connection, the lack of a suitable virtual learning platform, lack of commitment and discipline, and, of course, the lack of the proper knowledge of working with online education. Most of the teachers, the students, and the parents are newbies when it comes to working in virtual learning environment.
Until now, many developing countries don’t even want to acknowledge the importance of virtual education. When teachers and students have undertaken virtual education during the COVID-19 lockdown, there wasn’t a Plan B to move seamlessly to online education. Neither teachers nor students have been previously trained to cope with such a learning method. In addition, parents who have been expected to monitor their children at home have found it difficult to get used to distance learning.
Amazingly, most teachers have tried to deliver their lessons via social and chatting apps like WhatsApp, which was not built initially for such purpose. Despite that, it can be a distraction as a social app.
What we can expect from all educational ministries after passing the current crises is to start building up a great virtual learning platform and make sure that teachers, students, and parents are all well trained to use it properly. Additionally, educational institutions should also cooperate with telecommunication companies to ensure that a fast Internet connection is available to all educators at an affordable price.
Fourth Lesson: Utilizing Ecommerce as an Alternative to Traditional Shopping:
During the lockdown, many store owners have tried to reach their customers via the Internet, mainly through social media platforms or by some premade shopping cart software. Ecommerce is a great way to help contain the virus by giving people the possibility to buy their needs online from the comfort of their own homes, so it is vital to improve this sector as well.
In my opinion, there are two major issues that countries, primarily developing ones, should enhance.
The first issue is to raise awareness of the eCommerce business model so that more traders and customers are involved in. As such, we can expect to have more local online retailers, which in turn will reduce the shipping delays as merchants are probably going to ship from local warehouses rather than having to ship from remote ones.
Secondly, since payment is considered as one of the main logistical elements of any successful eCommerce infrastructure, countries should facilitate an easy-to-use payment gateway that will flourish under such online trading.
Well-known payment gateways such as credit or debit cards, PayPal, cash on delivery, and other forms of payment are not available for many people, so we should make sure everyone has access to these gateways. Furthermore, we also should innovate online payment methods that make online shopping a wonderful experience.
The horror story of the coronavirus may end soon, as it is declining in several parts of the world. Nevertheless, who knows if the virus will arise again or not in the future? Regardless of the harsh consequences of the pandemic, there are still good lessons to learn from this crisis. Surely, we can always find hope for a better tomorrow.