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The Express Tribune Editorial 23 April 2020

Trump’s election stunt

President Donald Trump continued his rule-by-tweet policy, deciding on Monday that he would be suspending “immigration into the United States”. By Tuesday, he had clarified that the immigration in question was mostly related to Green Cards and not business, tourism, or temporary worker categories. Trump’s executive order would ‘pause’ issuance of green cards — which are the first step to citizenship — for 60 days. The policy would then be reexamined and possibly extended, depending on economic conditions at that time.
The US president insists that his goal is only to protect Americans from international competition for jobs. Oh, the irony! Trump, leader of the world’s most capitalistic society, fears that American workers can’t compete with foreign ones. But given his many bankruptcies, his anti-trade practices as president, and his bailing out of stock market gamblers, it is quite clear that Trump has no clue how capitalism works. But we digress. The US has already essentially closed immigration, given that field offices around the country and embassies abroad are closed for immigration services.
While experts say the executive order could not affect existing visas, until Trump or the administration explicitly say as much, many immigrants await anxiously. Meanwhile, Americans sponsoring relatives will almost certainly be affected. Some have argued that highly-educated and skilled workers will also be affected. This makes total sense since Trump “loves the poorly-educated” people who think they will now get these jobs.
The fact of the matter is that the US needs immigrants. Because of poor policymaking, immigrants are the only way to fill many essential jobs. This is why a quarter of doctors in the country are foreigners. Trump may or may not understand this, but his racist and bigoted voter base most certainly does not. This is an election stunt and must be exposed as such.


Corona ignorance

With the coronavirus-infected cases in Pakistan surpassing ten thousand as of Wednesday, resulting in more than two hundred deaths, a new study reveals that only half of Pakistanis are aware of the common risk factors associated with Covid-19. This ignorance becomes even more worrying given the fact that lockdown measures across the country have been eased — with the industry allowed to operate and mosques allowed to hold congregational prayers during Ramazan under certain SOPs, which however are not easy to be adhered to.
The study — conducted by Aga Khan University’s Medical College and its Research Council — was meant to assess the knowledge of people in urban and rural parts of the country about several corona-related aspects, including: symptoms of the virus, its mode of transmission, how to guard against it, what sources of information about the disease are being relied upon, what practices should be adopted during isolation period in case of contracting the virus, and whether or not Covid-19 can be cured with any existing medicines.
Conclusions drawn from the study are a big cause for concern, with some of them manifesting the pathetic level of awareness among the people, like: about 74% of the rural respondents naively believe that Covid-19 is caused by mosquito bite; 90% of the rural residents are unaware of the vulnerability of being in a crowded place; and 60% of the urban and 83% of the rural respondents incorrectly believe that pneumonia vaccines can protect them from the disease.
On a positive note though, the study notes widespread awareness among the public about the importance of hand washing, coughing into one’s flexed elbow, and keeping a protective distance from those who are coughing or sneezing — the precautions that have been vigorously advertised through the various media platforms. The findings of the study, thus, very rightly stress the need for raising the level of awareness among the public through mainstream and social media.
The government is, therefore, required to facilitate efforts for developing informative health awareness material on the virus and focus on its communication through the media so as to increase the awareness about the lethal virus.


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