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The curse of COVID-19, Is India ready?





As on March 14th, a total of 142,649 confirmed cases and 5393 deaths have been reported in world across 135 countries. The number of evacuated touches 1078 Indians and 48 foreign nationals in total. At present 30 Indian airports are equipped for full thermal screening of COVID-19. India has screened 1,957,506 people from 30 airports and 77 seaports.


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Is India ready to tackle the curse of COVID-19? This question reverberates in the mind of every Indian, especially after former Goldman chief economist Jim O Neil remarked, “ Thank God! coronavirus didn’t start in India”.

After an outbreak was reported of Novel Coronavirus on 31st December, 2019 in China, a large number of cases are reported all across China and other parts of the world including India. As WHO names it, COVID-19 has taken 2 lives in the nation and affected 84 others.

As on March 14th, a total of 142,649 confirmed cases and 5393 deaths have been reported in world across 135 countries. With 80,849 cases and humongous 3,199 reported deaths, China is still leading the world when it comes to COVID-19 infection.

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The numbers increased from 9 cases to 84 cases in a week, China being its neighbour India is the next hotbed destination for the virus spread. The reasons of spread are various most of them are imported through foreigners or Indian visitors returning from affected countries.

Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr. Harshwardhan has affirmed of taking all the requisite steps and measures for containing the the curse of COVID-19 in India. “It is worth highlighting that India initiated required preparedness and action at field level since 17th January itself, much before the advice from WHO”, he said.

The magnitude of this outbreak nationally as well as globally calls for a concerted effort by all sectors of Government as well as Indian populace. Government of India has initiated a series of steps to prevent entry of the virus and to stop its spread.

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India is the only country in the world to evacuate its citizens 8 times latest being from Iran and evacuated the most number of Indian nationals stuck there. The Indian Air Force evacuated a total of 723 Indians, 37 foreign nationals from Wuhan. India evacuated 119 Indians and 5 foreign nationals from Japan. IAF also evacuated 236 Indians from Iran till now. The number of evacuated touches 1078 Indians and 48 foreign nationals in total.

In a very short span of time, 52 Virus Research Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) have been set up in India to test COVID-19 suspect patients which is a record in itself and a plan to build 56 more VRDLs in the next month. Ironically this insane level of efficiency have missed the eyes of Indian media mostly seen spreading panic about the issue.

A team of 6 scientists and makeshift lab has been flown to Iran to test its citizens after the government of Iran refused to test Indians in their quarantine labs owing to their own load.

Apart from sending 14 member medical team comprising of pulmonologists, anaesthetists, physicians & lab technicians and also a large composite of COVID-19 medical relief to assist Maldives health authorities, a team was also sent to assist Madagascar. In total India has provided a tonne worth of equipment in form of masks, drugs, sanitizers etc to other countries proving its worth as the next Vishwa Guru.

Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister(I/C), Civil Aviation stated that universal screening of all incoming passengers coming from all parts of the world has begun at Indian airports. After the thermal screening, the passengers who show initial signs of fever, are subjected to full testing and further detailed process is carried out. Addressing a press conference he said that around 70,000 passengers coming to India on a daily basis through airports from different parts of the world are being screened. At present 30 Indian airports are equipped for full thermal screening of COVID-19.India has screened 1,957,506 people from 30 airports and 77 seaports.

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As mentioned in the press release by government, Eight Central Teams have visited the bordering villages in States of UP, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Sikkim and Bihar to review the activities at the border crossing, the conduct of Gram Sabhas and risk communication to the community. A total number of 3823 Gram Sabhas have been conducted and 11, 20,529 people have been screened at the border check post.

In response to all such cases having travel history from all major COVID-19 affected countries, a regular surveillance has been initiated across the country and for people having contact with such persons and having fever, cough or breathlessness. All such persons are tracked and brought under community surveillance and monitored through Integrated Disease Surveillance network. The state surveillance officers, district surveillance officers and rapid response teams of health professionals under the leadership of state Health Secretaries are monitoring the situation on war footing. Daily Press briefing is being held by Ministry of Health and information is being shared through social media. A 24x7 Control Room is operational with call centre number as 011-23978046.Adequate isolation beds are available in the tertiary facilities all across the country and examples like a 500 bed hospital created in 2 days in Uttar Pradesh lead the preparations.

India has suspended all visas to India as well as visa-free travel facility for OCI cardholders. It has closed its border with Myanmar and China. The Indian nationals coming from COVID-19 hit nations after 15 February will be mandatorily quarantined for 14 days, in addition also barring all foreigners from such nations to come to India. Indian citizens are advised to refrain from travel to China, Iran, Republic of Korea, Italy & Japan and advised to avoid non-essential travel to other COVID-19 affected countries. If we compare this with O Neil’s empty statements and UK preparation, UK stands a sitting duck on a dynamite which is already exploding in the entire Europe.

Other than promoting Namaste, forcing world towards having natural food habits and spreading love not panic, India has proven its worth as the emerging permanent member of security council in the COVID-19 episode.

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