Test, trace for corona

Ramp up steps to prevent spread of disease

Test, trace for corona

Even as more and more people with a foreign travel history are testing positive for Covid-19 throughout the country, the curve is spiking with a sharp northward trajectory. Stage 2 of the epidemic is on us, with those affected by the virus having passed on the infection to some of those whom they have come in contact with locally. This has necessitated the contact-tracing programme, which follows the chain of the virus from one person to the next and identifying and isolating those people before they can spread the virus further. This task is extremely challenging in a country like ours where compliance with rules and advisories is not a strong point. While it is bad enough that some people escaped the screening at the airport arrivals, the battle against the onslaught of the virus has become tougher as some incoming patients have exhibited irresponsible behaviour in these trying times. Instead of subjecting themselves to self-quarantine and testing, they have been merrily socialising, oblivious to its dangers.

The man who succumbed to coronavirus in Punjab recently is said to have interacted freely with many people after his return from Germany. While his contact-tracing has led to 150 of them across three districts being home-quarantined and tested for the flu, tracking down each of the two lakh who attended the Anandpur Sahib Hola Mohalla festivities, which were also attended by him, is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. As the fear of an explosion of infected clusters stares at us, the government has tightened the noose around the offenders. A UK-returned famous singer has been booked in Lucknow for socialising in violation of rules after she was found suffering from Covid-19. A Bengaluru-based government official whose son tested positive has been suspended for not disclosing his travel from Germany via Spain.

In a ramp-up measure that has, hopefully, not come too late, the Centre has directed both private and public hospitals to admit suspected patients and test all pneumonia cases for Covid-19. The South Korean and Singaporean models show that mass testing makes all the difference. 

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