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Opinion

Marching Against the Coronavirus

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Jan 30, 2020 11:50 pm
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With India confirming its first case of the novel coronavirus (nCoV), a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans, on January 30, the number of countries that has confirmed its presence has reached 20 as of Thursday. The deadly virus has spread to the Asia-Pacific, and Europe, North America and the Middle East. Having reached Nepal, Sri Lanka and other neighbouring countries, the fear of its outbreak in India has intensified. And after several people with coronavirus-symptoms were tested negative, the ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday confirmed that one positive case of the coronavirus in a patient, a student studying in Wuhan University, had been reported in Kerala. It informed that the patient has been kept in isolation in the hospital and closely monitored although his condition is stable.

The Indian government has taken several preventive measures including issuing a fresh travel advisory asking people to refrain from travelling to China, where more than 170 people have died and thousands of others infected with the virus since it was first discovered in the country the previous month. Besides urging its citizens to monitor their health closely and to use helpline for queries related to respiratory infections, the central government has extended thermal screening of passengers to 21 airports and added four more laboratories apart from the NIV-Pune for testing samples.

Closer home, the government of Nagaland has taken protective measures against the coronavirus by deploying health officers and by screening travellers at the Dimapur airport and railway station to screen visitors for symptoms of the virus. Self-declaration forms have been made available for the travellers and a board containing advisory for those who had visited China particularly through Wuhan City in the Hubei province during the past 14 days has also being displayed at the airport. It is comforting to know that both the central and state governments are taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In the meantime, India has a reason to be bothered by the virus outbreak as it will be difficult to contain its spread if it is not stopped from the bud not only because of its proximity with China in terms of location but also by its population size. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK has also placed India among the top 30 countries at “high-risk” from the spread of the virus.

While there is no need to panic, it is important to know that collective effort is required to curb this kind of epidemic and to help discover a cure in the shortest possible time. It is necessary to create awareness about the virus among the people, especially those in the rural areas and avoid spreading of rumours that create fear. The government machineries as well as the public should take up the issue on a war-footing or else it will be devastating if the virus is allowed to spread unchecked even for a few days. Prevention is better than cure.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Jan 30, 2020 11:50:18 pm