Covid-19 And The State of Emergency

Health officials during their door-to-door visit in Khanyar locality to check the neighborhood for symptoms of coronavirus, in Srinagar. (KO Photo)

We have to sync with the directives for our betterment

Syed Maajid Rashid Andrabi

COVID -19, a pandemic, which has resulted in so much distress in the world, has brought almost every country to a standstill. Not only those which are grappling with this issue, are looking for all the means to contain its spread and put an end to it, but the rest are also worried about the repercussions, they might have to face if at all, this unsolicited virus enters their borders.

Even the countries which excel in health care facilities are failing to come to terms as is represented by the growing number of cases being reported and the fatalities thereof. By now, Italy is at the forefront for the number of casualties increased from 6820 to 16,523, followed by Spain 3434 to 13,798, and then China 3282 to 3,331, so on and so forth. Italy’s health care system has been pushed to the breaking point. In fact, no health care system in the world has been designed to treat everyone at once and at this crucial juncture everyone is unable to respond as per the requirement.

Be it shortages of important medical equipment or masks, the doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the rising surge of the patient count. In the absence of any drug, the only option with the affected countries is to impose lockdown to stop this virus from spreading. In other words, a situation like that of an emergency needed to be declared so that the count of the surge in the affected areas could be contained and restricted without harming others.

Covid-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019. It all started as a cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause which later on was found to be a new virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. COVID-19 infections are on the rise and each day several hundred or thousands of cases are being reported with no one being aware of how long it will make the world suffer.

The Indian health care system isn’t that much sophisticated which is evident from the bed to population ratio of nearly 1:1,000, and with around one million hospital beds and less than
100,000 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, India is hardly prepared to confront a moderate surge. Undoubtedly, under-preparedness in dealing with a possible surge in Covid-19 cases needing hospital care can have terrible consequences.

A pandemic of this type has four stages. Stage I represents cases imported from affected countries while Stage II indicates local transmission from positive cases. In the case of Stage III spread of disease occurs within the community affecting large areas and when the disease takes the shape of an epidemic with no clear point it has reached Stage IV.

Status of pandemic varies with respect to different countries, some being at the initial stage and some at peak. While in Jammu and Kashmir, the count of Covid-19 positive cases has reached up to 113 with two fatalities, it is very imperative to take this matter with utmost seriousness keeping in view the nature of the health care sector and the limited resources that are ready and available to use. 

Experts are of the firm belief that high alertness and firm practices can change the course of this disease and being the first-ever makes it actually controllable. Efforts from both sides i.e. government, as well as individual, are necessary at this point of time. Both are dependent on each other and would be of no avail if either of the two defaults!

The government’s responsibility to be able to come up to the expectations of the people is entirely dependent on how well it mobilizes its health care resources and arranges the deficit well in time to meet the contingencies arising out of this pandemic. The government also needs to plan about the welfare of the people, since the lockdown has been imposed and there are no such facilities that people could arrange items for themselves. For this purpose, dedicated helplines should be made functional to distress the people rising out of this contingency.

So far the government of J&K is taking every possible step to address all the issues but then we also need to cooperate with the directives, so our collective efforts bring about a much-needed change.

The only way to stop this pandemic and save the lives of people is to stop the virus from spreading. Social distancing which is a must should be adhered at all costs and others should also be made aware of it. Strictly-implemented social-distancing measures will reduce the overall expected number of cases of the novel coronavirus pandemic by 62 percent and the peak number of cases by 89 percent, according to the country’s apex health research body. The control efforts of The Spanish Flu in 1918 which killed almost 50 to 100 million people around the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings.

This is a testing time for all of us. If we adhere by what has been guided by the WHO, it is more likely that we may witness a favorable outcome. The precautionary measures which have been drafted by WHO need to be followed in letter and spirit. In these challenging times, we all need to be supportive towards each other in terms of addressing and meeting basic requirements, but with proper protocols. Every one of us needs to deliver his/her duty towards making our societies safe and free from this pandemic. We have to take care of personal hygiene and disclose the travel details of our acquaintance if they seem to ignore the self-declaration which has been mandated by the government.

What is more shocking is the inability of the people to take a serious note of this pandemic, which could only result in disastrous consequences in the face of more fatalities. If the virus isn’t contained soon, then there will be no doctor or vaccine left to save people from it. The Covid-19 has necessitated that the technologically able countries of the world should join hands and work towards fighting this pandemic collectively and share their best practices to minimise the count of fatalities. World unity is needed in this time of crisis to generate a positive vibe among the people for their safeguard.  Time is ripe to shun all differences and contribute towards the well-being of humanity, which is our first duty. This is the time to think beyond self.

P.S: Help yourself to help others!

Author can be reached at [email protected]

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