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People must play by the rules to combat deadly virus

WHAT STEPS ADMINISTRATION  MUST TAKE TO PROTECT PEOPLE LIVING IN CONGESTED PLACES?

People must play by the rules to combat deadly virus

As the unseen virus transmits via close human contact, common toilets can be extremely dangerous as residents use them a number of times daily. Photos: Sarabjit Singh

Residents say govt must install mobile Covid testing labs near such areas so that the virus could be contained

Increase testing in slum areas

Apropos pictures used on front page of the Jalandhar Tribune on May 11, the tale of complacency and negligence among people can be guessed amid these harrowing times. The virus is affecting all sections of the society equally and badly, be it children, youth, adults or elderly. Despite repeated restrictions imposed by the government and various guidelines issued to prevent the spread of the virus, people can be seen flouting the norms and putting their own and others’ lives at risk. It has been almost a year that we got to know about the pandemic but we still have not adopted Covid preventive behaviour and the result of this carelessness is before us when the case-load is increasing at record high number daily that too with an alarming death rate. There is a tsunami of Covid-19 infection in the country but people are out in the markets as if all shops will run out of stocks the next day. Amid this alarming situation, even garment shops are doing a brisk business. The people who are at risk the most are the ones living in congested places and quarters. They share their living spaces with comparatively a larger number of people which are also poorly ventilated. These people generally use public toilets which too are not in good state and very unhygienic. The government and the administration should come to their aid by commissioning community toilets with proper water and sewerage arrangements. Due to these reasons, there are increased chances of Covid blast at such places and spread of infection to masses is feared. This will also add to the burden of the health facilities which result in the spread of infection in tier-2 and tier-3 towns and even in rural areas. In many areas people defecate in the open and even urinate and spit in the open.This is worry some and cause of spread of infection.The physical hygiene and cleanliness individually and in community is the need of the hour.

Dr JS Wadhwa

Install mobile labs near such areas

As per the phrase: “Jiske sir upar tu swami, so dukh kaisa paave”, people living in congested places and quarters easily escape deadly invasions of viruses and diseases. If the virus manages to penetrate such areas, the impact is not the same as that of in urban areas as people living in such areas have higher immunity to foreign agents which enter their bodies and their immune systems is more efficient to fight antigens because the environment they live in makes them capable of fighting pollutants and contaminants efficiently from the beginning itself. Diseases can be fought in such areas even with the slightest efforts of the Health Department. People easily understand the pros and cons of the diseases and also learn how to effectively fight it. They take government guidelines seriously and keep themselves aware of the government issued guidelines.As vaccination drive is on and the second wave of Covid-19 is in full swing, the Health Department should leave no stone unturned in visiting such areas door-to-door and get the beneficiaries inoculated. Mobile labs should be installed near such areas for the convenience of such people and they should also be provided clean and hygienic environment to live. The government should also launch awareness drives at such areas to keep these people aware and prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Rajat Kumar Mohindru

Vaccinate people living in congested areas

The need of hour is to chalk out a plan and work in this direction firmly. The administration must think of ways to deal with the second wave of Covid and also prepare itself for the inevitable second wave of the pandemic which is predicted to be hitting children more than previous two waves. The Health Department make teams and send them for door-to-door vaccination is such areas, where population density is more than other pockets of the city. Covering most of the population under the vaccination drive will definitely help in curbing the pandemic. People living in these congested areas should also be provided with the facility of mobile toilets to ensure hygienic conditions there. People should be made aware of Covid-appropriate behaviour and should be made to understand the significance of the government-issued guidelines to contain the virus. The administration should also prepare a list of areas where vaccination drive will be carried out and also announce it in public in advance so that maximum number of people could be informed and inoculated to contain the raging pandemic in an effective manner.

Simmi Mohindru

Identify vulnerable localities in city

Despite contradictory claims by medical experts, there is a close association between Covid-19 transmission and population density. Along with maintaining physical distancing, self-sanitisation and masking, it is important to keep ourselves away from high-risk crowded places that can facilitate the spread of the scary disease. The central and state governments across the country are limiting large gatherings at public events to rein in and cushion the blow of the ambiguous pathogen. But high density deprived urban areas face umpteen health and safety challenges due to space limitations within and between households and inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure. People confined in these narrow, congested places and quarters, perforce, share common water, handwashing and toilet facilities. Since they cannot maintain the requisite physical distance, they, wittingly or unwittingly, often touch contaminated surfaces like pump handles, faucet or spigot knobs, wash basins, door handles, etc. They are more prone to the virus risk than those living in wide, open spaces. The pandemic is a nightmarish public health emergency. With rapidly increasing positivity rates, faltering inoculation drive and shortage of vaccines, drugs, oxygen and other medical facilities during the second wave, the prospect of a more potential third wave cannot be denied. All of us –government, organisations and individuals – are morally and socially enjoined to make collaborative, coordinated efforts to fight the ongoing contagion. The administration and Health Department should undertake a massive door-to-door exercise to identify vulnerable localities, trace and isolate probable positive patients before these become hotspots for Covid-19. It should engage sufficient number of operators or community health workers to enforce mandated precautionary measures, properly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and ensure improved supply of water, electricity, soaps and sanitisers.

D S Kang

Third wave closing in, all need to act fast

No, people living in congested places with limited toilets cannot protect themselves from contracting the virus. In fact, they are disproportionally at greater risk because of a definite positive correlation between Covid-19 and related mortality with population density. As the unseen virus transmits via close human contact, common toilets can be extremely dangerous as residents use them a number of times daily. In spite of making best efforts, they are unable to strictly adhere to physical distancing, hand hygiene and mask-wearing. They will inadvertently touch the infected facilities and very likely catch the dreaded infection. Because the state government’s awareness campaign about safety guidelines such as decreased social interaction, quarantine and self-isolation is also meaningless for the poor, marginalised people living in dense, crowded areas, it should increase surveillance, testing, tracing and treatment of Covid patients. If need be, the entire area should be declared a containment zone and sealed. It should also make arrangements to clean and disinfect the overwhelmed toilets and washrooms after every use and keep a tab on people’s inappropriate Covid behaviour. Though it is a herculean task, it must be undertaken on priority basis. Will the authorities and private individuals realise that reducing the severity of the present infection is the ultimate key to checking the magnitude of the postulated potential third serve in the coming months and serve the entire population and return to normalcy?

Tajpreet S Kang

Ensure hygiene at public toilets

The local administration and the police should fan out across the Jalandhar city and educate the locals, including migrants, about wearing mask when out in the public, and wash their hands with soap and water whenever they return home from outside, all food items brought from markets should be washed and wiped before use and other such healthy practices. Hygiene at public toilets should be maintained. Any person who breaks the rules and endangers the lives of other people too should be dealt strictly despite his social or public image.

Sunny Missera

Hygiene should be ensured

As of now, the government’s vaccination drive is being rolled out on the basis of certain age groups, whereas the local administration and the Health Department should inoculate rickshaw-pullers, auto-rickshaw drivers, street vendors and daily wagers etc. living in congested areas, on priority. The move will also help in containing the virus as people from these areas interact with a large number of people due to the services that they offer. A more stringent cleanliness drive should also be started in such areas to ensure hygienic conditions in the city.

Harsh N Johar


Civic bodies must ensure cleanliness of public toilets & garbage disposal sites

Hygiene and vaccination are the only ways to contain the pandemic. Despite big rhetorics to take the pandemic head on, we seem to have failed somewhere in strategising our approach to save many precious lives. Scarcity of vaccine andessential emergency drugs such as Remdesivir, erratic supply and black marketing of medical oxygen and insufficient ICU beds in hospitals exposed inherent weaknesses of our system

As the country grapples with the ferocity of the wave, we have to be more equipped to fight the inevitable third wave of Covid. For this,everyone will have to be self-disciplined and imbibe Covid-appropriate behaviour meticulously

It is extremely worrisome that people living in congested localities lacking sanitation and basic facilities, are highly vulnerable of getting exposed to this contagion. Though under the manual scavenging and open defecation abolition schemes, efforts were made to provide toilets at all public places and tenements, yet due to poor maintenance and neglect these facilities have turned into garbage dumps

Rag-pickers, often seen segregating trash at such places, run the highest risk of exposure. Moreover, inadequate number of toilets in houses and those available being collectively used by many inhabitants, make people more prone to contracting the virus for being exposed to a large number of people

Though people are being sensitised by the administration and the Health Department at every platform to observe proper sanitisation, repeated hand washing and avoiding social mixing, yet, it needs vigorous action to look up to this aspect as human lives are to be saved at any cost

All civic bodies must ensure cleanliness of public toilets and garbage disposal sites apart from spraying of insecticides and disinfectants at regular intervals. The government will have to accelerate inoculation drive to cover the entire population as per the protocol. The task is huge, but not invincible before concerted and determined efforts!

Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath


QUESTION

Complaints against private hospitals fleecing Covid patients have increased and the patients are preferring home isolation. Do you think the trust and belief in the health system has shaken?

Suggestions in not more than 200 words can be sent to jalandhardesk@tribunemail.com by Thursday (May 20).

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