On March 8, 2020, India’s Health Ministry said the total number of the highly contagious coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country had risen to 34.
- In December 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared an outbreak of the febrile respiratory illness of unknown etiology from Wuhan, Hubei Province of China.
- The outbreak was epidemiologically linked to the Wuhan Seafood Wholesale Market involving the sale of seafood and live animals.
- Later named COVID-19, it has now spread to more than 90 countries apart from China.
- WHO has declared the outbreak as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”
- A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous.
- They are a class of viruses so named because their electron microscope image resembles the corona of the sun.
- They are usually found in animals, but sometimes get transmitted to human beings possibly through the food chain.
- This happened during the 2003 outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus that claimed more than 800 lives.
- The current 2019 strain that had originated in China and has been named as 2019 ‘novel’ coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or SARS-CoV-2.
- The virus currently has no vaccine and it primarily spreads through the respiratory droplets of infected people.
- Coronavirus broke out in China’s Wuhan city in December 2019 and has spread to over 60 countries, killing more than 3,000 and infecting nearly 90,000.
- Universal Thermal Screening of all international flights along with asking passengers to fill the ‘Self Reporting Form’.
- Further regular visas/e-visa granted to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan issued on or before March 3, 2020, are now suspended.
- Cancellation of biometric attendance for all ministries till March 31.
- The Indian Army is now establishing additional quarantine facilities for 1,500 personnel; the tentative locations for the same are Jaisalmer, Suratgarh, Secunderabad, Chennai, and Kolkata.
- Augmentation of isolation facilities in hospitals is being done along with ensuring an adequate supply of protective gear, medicines, and other essential services.
- As many as 52 laboratories are now operational across the country to test for COVID-19. An additional 57 laboratories have been provided with viral transport media and swabs for sample collection.
- WHO-prescribed patient management guidance is being followed, which includes interim clinical care guidelines for hospitalized patients and home care guide for those with a milder infection.
- Centre has provided a Containment Action Plan to all the states.
- The Ministry has designated the District Collector as the nodal officer for containment operations.
- States have been guided in terms of identifying the containment zone, buffer zone and preparation of a micro plan to ensure effective surveillance and contact tracing
- A 24-hour seven-day control room is operational with a call center number 011-23978046.
- Evacuation operations are being conducted in Wuhan City by Indian Air Force to rescue Indians and nationals from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Maldives, China, South Africa, USA, and Madagascar.
- India has accumulated sufficient stocks of active pharmaceutical ingredients (the raw materials needed to make medicines) which could last the next three months.
- Advisory to Citizens:
- Hands must be regularly and thoroughly cleaned with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- A distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) must be maintained from a person coughing or sneezing.
- If a person has fever, cough and experiences difficulty breathing, medical attention must be sought
- 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.
Also read: Coronavirus Is Now COVID-19
Image Source: The Hindu