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Coronavirus: A global pandemic which reaches India!

5 Mins read

It is finally time for India to become anxious about coronavirus. Until now, we were simply following the progress of this virus through media channels like the news and social media as it spread from Wuhan of China to almost 127 countries in the world.

The people who had initially been screened for coronavirus in India tested negative and India breathed a sigh of relief. But now, within just a few days, the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 81 in India! So, what is the coronavirus scene like in India and globally?

Latest updates on Coronavirus

  • The number of people afflicted by coronavirus is escalating by the day. As we speak, the number stands at 138,275 globally.
  • 5,082 people have lost their lives to coronavirus from across the world.
  • The second most affected country is Italy with 15,113 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
  • The second-highest fatality rate has been witnessed by Italy where the death toll stands at 1016.
  • The USA has promised $8.3 billion in aid to help the world contain the coronavirus epidemic.
  • Researchers are racing against time to develop a drug that can prevent or kill the coronavirus. They have identified a special protein in the human body that allows the virus to enter the cells of the lung and they are using this breakthrough to formulate a medicine.
  • Italy is under complete lockdown, with Italians being urged to stay at home and all public gatherings are being banned.

Updates from India

  • By 2nd March, 5 cases of coronavirus were reported in India.
  • By 6th March, the number has jumped sharply. As of this moment, 30 people in India have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • More than 2000 Indians are stranded in Tehran, Iran. Since Iran is in the grips of coronavirus, the Indians who have been living there may have contracted it as well. That is why India has sent 4 scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research who will screen the Indians in Tehran before they board a flight that will bring them back to India.
  • On 6th March, special flight services will operate between New Delhi and Tehran to evacuate the stranded Indians. And 1 empty flight will also be reaching New Delhi from Tehran, which will be boarded by Iranian nationals who are currently in India.
  • 81 people in India have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • A British citizen, suspected to have contracted coronavirus, has been quarantined in Goa.
  • The demand for alcohol-based hand sanitizers has shot up 10 times.
  • The FSSAI (Food Safety and standards association of India) has announced that all food items coming in from abroad, even from countries dealing with coronavirus outbreak, are completely safe for consumption. The advisory also stated that people should refrain from consuming uncooked or undercooked meat.
  • It is estimated (by the UN) that India will suffer losses worth $348 million due to disruptions in trade caused by the coronavirus.
  • The 76-year-old man who passed away in Kalaburagi, Karnataka has been confirmed to be India’s first coronavirus casualty.

What is India doing to curb Coronavirus?

India (both the centre and the states) has sprung into action and is implementing every measure possible to contain the spread of coronavirus. Let us take a look at the measures –

  1. Isolation wards to treat coronavirus patients have been set up in government hospitals and several private hospitals.
  2.  12 sets of coronavirus helplines have been established for 12 regions of the country. The calls are being answered promptly.
  3. Outposts along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Tibet borders have been equipped with screening devices.
  4. All flyers entering India from any nation will be screened. The screening will no longer apply to only those passengers coming in from coronavirus affected nations. Passengers travelling to India from Italy or South Korea will have to present a medical certificate from March 10th.
  5. India has cancelled the e-visas of Japanese nationals.
  6. 82 sample-testing facilities exist in India currently.
  7. Extensive screening is being carried out at 21 airports, 12 major seaports and 65 smaller seaports.
  8. Drivers of trucks coming in from Pakistan are being screened.
  9. The government of Sikkim will not be issuing the Inner Line Permit until further notice. No foreigners are being allowed into the state and Nathula Permit too has been suspended.
  10. India will not be sending its archery team to the Asia Cup, to be hosted by Bangkok for fears of exposure to coronavirus.
  11.   India has declared a complete travel ban to 4 countries- China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.
  12. West Bengal has quarantined 1200 people who entered the state from other countries.
  13. Every state has set up a rapid response team at the village block and district levels.
  14. India is urging people to abstain from attending mass gatherings.

How prepared are we?

Going by the robust checks and precautions implemented by India, it would seem we are all geared up to curb coronavirus. But population density, unsanitary living conditions, low levels of awareness, a paucity of hospital beds and medical professionals, prevalence of coronavirus myths as well as the absence of an efficient infrastructure are problems that need to be resolved quickly so that we can deal with the threat more effectively.

Precautions you need to adopt to be safe

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few preventive measures that can save you from coronavirus.

  1. Coronavirus spreads from infected people through their coughs and sneezes. Maintain 3 feet of distance between yourself and a person who appears sick.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizers repeatedly especially when you are away from home.
  3. Sneeze into the bend of your elbows.
  4. Avoid touching people.

Where can you get screened for Coronavirus?

Here are the laboratories recommended by the Union Health Minister where you can get screened for coronavirus.

Name Address Contact Number
KGMU (King George’s Medical University) Shah Mina Rd, Chowk, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 0522 225 7540
IGGMCH (Indira Gandhi Government Medical College & Hospital) C.A. Road, Nagpur 0712 272 5423
AIIMS Sri Aurobindo Marg, Ansari Nagar, Ansari Nagar East, New Delhi 011 2658 8500
SMS (Sawai Man Singh Medical College) Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg, Ashok Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 0141 270 8836
Kasturba Medical College 17, Khandubhai Desai Road, Near Rasraj Hotel, Vile Parle (west), near ACME Ghar, Mumbai, Maharashtra 0820 292 2367
National Institute of Virology 20-A, P B No 11, Dr Ambedkar Road, Pune 020 2612 7301
ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research II Floor of Nirmal Bhawan, ICMR Complex, Poojanhalli Road, Off NH-7, Adjacent to Trumpet Flyover of BIAL Kannamangala, Bangalore
Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute Fort, K.R. Road, Bangalore
National Institute of Virology Field Unit Jaya Nagar 1st Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka
KIPMR (King Institute of Preventive Medicine & Research) Guindy, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 044 2250 1520
Gandhi Medical College Musheerabad, Secunderabad 040-27502742
Guwahati Medical College Narakasur Hilltop, Bhangagarh, Guwahati, Assam 0361 213 4538
National Institute of Virology Field Unit Vandanam, Kerala
BJMC (Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical college) B j medical college, Asarwa, Gujarat

If you have any queries regarding coronavirus, contact the following helplines-

  • 91-11-23978046 
  •  1800-180-1104

FAQs on Coronavirus

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

You should get tested for coronavirus infection if, in the 14 days before the start of your symptoms, you were either:

  • In close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 infection
  •  Travelled to an area where there is ongoing community transmission of COVID-19
  • Worked in or attended a healthcare facility where patients with COVID-19 infections were being treated

In these cases, you should contact your doctor for advice.

What is the mode of transmission of coronavirus? How (easily) does it spread?

  • The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via respiratory droplets after people sneeze, cough or exhale. There is currently not enough epidemiological information to determine how easily and sustainably this virus spreads between people.

Are some people more at risk than others?

  • Generally, elderly people and those with underlying health conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) are considered to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.

Are children also at risk of infection?

  • Disease in children appears to be relatively rare and mild. A study from China suggested that just over 2% of cases were under 18 years of age. Of these, fewer than 3% developed severe or critical diseases.

Where do coronaviruses come from?

  • A wide range of animals is known to be the source of coronaviruses.
  • The animal source of the latest outbreak has not yet been identified, but the original host is thought to be bats.

The coronavirus threat is looming large. Every one of us should abide by the health advisories to combat coronavirus and keep our loved ones and ourselves safe and healthy.

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