Virus challenge


Ever since the coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan province of China in December 2019, the infections have spread through the world including India. According to World Health Organization the global mortality rate for coronavirus was 3.4 percent. Reassuringly enough, the WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press on Tuesday said Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is deadlier than the seasonal flu, but does not transmit as easily. He, however, added that “while many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, Covid-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity”.

Globally, over 92,000 cases have been confirmed, and over 3,000 deaths reported. In recent days, many cases have been reported in India. The number has now shot up to 28, among them sixteen Italian nationals and six members of a Delhi family. As a result of this, the government has now started universal screening of all passengers from incoming international flights at airports. According to union health minister Harsh Vardhan, around 5.6 lakh passengers having been screened at 21 airports, and over 12,000 at 12 major and 65 minor seaports. Similarly, around 25,000 people have been put under community surveillance under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

Coronavirus is a type of virus that typically affects the respiratory tracts of birds and mammals, including humans. Ever since its spread, it has wrought havoc globally. The economic fallout from the virus has also started to take hold, with experts forecasting that the unchecked virus could plunge global economy into recession. Stock markets have also been falling as a result. Last week, the US stock market witnessed its largest weekly loss since the 2008 financial crisis.

Though J&K so far has not had a single positive case of the virus, there is a grim prospect that the disease could reach the UT too. So, we need to be prepared for any eventuality. So far, the administration has established checkpoints for the screening of passengers suspected of the virus. A team of doctors has been deployed at railway stations, airports, bus stands and entry points of J&K. The administration has also decided to train medicos in quarantine protocols, and practices needed to promptly identify and isolate patients with possible coronavirus. But considering the scale of the challenge we face, these preparations may not be enough. More so, when even the advanced countries are struggling to cope with the contagion. There is thus an urgent need that we get our act right and step up to challenge. This is important to inspire the faith of people in the ability of the government to fight the disease effectively, should it make inroads into the Valley.

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