Fight against Coronavirus

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After World Health Organization declared Coronovirus as pandemic, India has taken extended steps to quarantine itself. On Wednesday Government of India took the unprecedented step to suspend all visas, barring select categories, till April 15, effectively closing its borders for a month. This means that no foreign tourist can enter India for over a month now. This has adverse consequences for the travel and hotel industry and for the economy as a whole. Several sporting events, including the IPL and the India Open badminton tournament were also scheduled to start this month and they could be cancelled. The Centre has also advised all states and Union Territories to invoke provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, which will enable them to enforce advisories as and when needed.

Meanwhile, as fresh coronavirus cases continue to be reported from different countries, the World Health Organization on Wednesday declared it as pandemic. Until now, the WHO had maintained that the scale of the coronavirus infection was not enough to qualify it as a pandemic.

At the same time efforts are on to find a cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by Coronavirus. It will take months before a line of treatment or vaccine against the disease can be developed. Scientists all over the world are collaborating to collect and analyse the genetic composition of the new virus, which would be key to developing a cure and a vaccine.

Coronavirus outbreak, meanwhile, has touched 73 in India. And globally so far over 119,400 confirmed cases have been reported out of which over 4,300 people have succumbed to the virus, two-third of them in China. However, in China the number of cases has started to plateau. Hubei province, the global epicentre of Coronavirus, logged just eight new infections on Thursday, showing in the country the epidemic has passed its peak. It has proved that Beijing’s strict containment measures have paid off.

In Kashmir, the government has woken up to the virus challenge by ordering the closure of all academic institutions, including schools colleges and universities, across the Union Territory till March 31. The Director National Health Mission Bhupinder Kumar also advised social, political and religious organisations in Kashmir to avoid large gatherings and functions. So far around 1,211 travellers and people in contact with suspected coronavirus patients have been put under surveillance. In Jammu, the government has ordered the closure of all cinema halls. The administration has also ordered closure of Anganwadi centres while biometric attendance in offices has been suspended. These are timely measures which will go some way to contain the spread of virus in the state. Alongside these measures, it is important that the government uses local media and the internet to spread awareness about the disease.

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