Disaster preparedness was evident as India initiated the establishment of a ‘Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Fund’ for SAARC, chalking out ways to fight Coronavirus, reducing tension and creating robust cooperation in the region. The countries are not only preparing the institutional structure but also the community as a whole in order to spread the reach of COVID-19 pandemic.
Italy’s death toll from pandemic has surpassed China as death toll in Italy rose in the last 24 hours by 427. In the wake of absence of vaccine for the ongoing pandemic ‘Prevention, Precaution and Preparedness’ is the only cure. Nations world-wide are taking measures such as thousands of new ventilators are being produced in Britain, Saudi Arabia has banned prayers at holy mosques, USA has initiated clinical trials and India is expanding the laboratory capacity by accrediting medical colleges, research institutions and private laboratories which meet the required standards.
Actual COVID-19 infection numbers matter more than the case/ diagnosed numbers as it determines transmission and immunity rate. Possibility of spreading coronavirus increases with the absence of protective measures. The present virus outbreak cannot be constrained through initiatives such as voluntary services through social mobilisation due to the highly contagious nature of the disease. There are other ways in which people can contain and mitigate the viral spread.
Spreading awareness, refraining from spreading panic, practicing social distancing, maintain patience and determination along with taking prudent precautions advised by the government is the need of the hour. In order to stop panic and spread awareness- WhatsApp Chatbot on coronavirus called MyGov CORONA Helpdesk (+91 9013151515) has been created with the theme ‘Prepare, Don’t Panic’ for response on queries related to Coronavirus.
Explaining the severity of the crisis and addressing the apprehensions of the citizens, Prime Minister Modi urged the nation to cooperate in breaking the cycle of the virus and as a gratitude to those working round the clock, by observing self imposed ‘Janta Curfew’ (People’s curfew) on 22nd March from 7am to 9pm. He also advised the different generations to avoid getting infected themselves and prevent others as well from getting infected, avoid leaving your homes until absolutely necessary, creation of COVID-19 Economic Response Taskforce for measures to boost economy, avoid panic buying, look after the economic interest of all people and practice empathy and humanity and not deduct salaries.
As a predecessor to the above initiatives, the SAARC countries welcomed PM Modi’s offer of cooperation, collective wisdom and efforts to help devise robust strategy against SARS-CoV-2, sharing of Disease Surveillance portal software with SAARC partners and establishment of a ‘Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Fund’ for SAARC extending an assistance for the fund.
Other measures that preceded the outbreak in India included screening at the airports, suspension of entry of foreign nationals from Cononavirus affected countries, issuing travel and hygiene advisory, declaration of sanitizers and masks as ‘essential commodities’ under the 1955 Essential Commodities Act, public awareness through notifications on a timely basis, awareness outreach through various social media platforms.
As a precaution, doctors have advised people to maintain basic hygiene, both personal and social, along with social distancing. Social media is booming with innovative ways to quarantine, in turn boosting various online platforms to spread awareness about the symptoms and myths of the disease along with basic hygiene. At the societal level, people are spreading awareness among family, friends, relatives and domestic helpers.
According to the official sources, there has been no community transmission in the country so far and hence in order to boost the counter strategy it becomes the duty of every citizen to self- restrain and strengthen our resolve to fulfil our duty in the service of the nation. The only way to stop the coronavirus spread is by acting together. The nationwide ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean India Campaign) along with AYUSH, Fit India campaign has emerged as the precursor to this great social awakening.
© Copyright 2015 PPRC