Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 23
After the ICMR reported a rise of 19 coronavirus cases between 6 pm on Sunday and 10 am on Monday taking the total cases to 415 and deaths to seven, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to exhort people to take the lockdown seriously.
The PM in his message said, “Some people are not taking the lockdown seriously even now. Please protect yourselves, protect your families, follow all government advisories seriously. I urge states to legally enforce rules and law at this time.”
The Centre asked states to strictly enforce lockdown and take legal action against the violators.
Cases in India have now begun to surge as the pattern of COVID-19 disease changes with more and more people returning to the country from abroad where the viral infection is exponential.
ICMR head Balram Bhargava said lockdown is the best way for India to flatten the curve of viral transmission and people must stay at home and maintain a one-metre-and-three-foot distance from one another.
For each returnee from abroad, there’s a clear protocol now. Each will be risk-assessed, and sent to either government quarantine or home quarantine depending on the risk.
Everyone at home who has returned from abroad must remain in isolation for 14 days and go for testing if they have the following symptoms — fever, cough, sneezing and short breath.
“Our message is simple. Everyone must stay home for at least two weeks,” said Dr Devi Shetty who is helping Karnataka manage the disease.
The government announced lockdown in all Covid-affected districts starting Sunday in the hope that it could prevent the virus from transmission in larger communities in which case it would be lethal.
“We are working to break the chain of transmission,” said Health Ministry officer Lav Agarwal.
The WHO has said one infected person infects 2.6 others and then each of these 2.6 infect 2.6 on their part. That’s how the chain grows.
“If you break this chain by preventing people from mixing and practising social distancing through lockdown, you can flatten the viral curve,” said Bhargava.
The virus stays in the body for 14 days before showing symptoms. Outside the body it stays for 12 to 47 hours on surfaces touched and contaminated by droplets from infected persons.
By social distancing people can prevent catching direct infection from the infected. By hand-washing they can kill the virus they may get by touching infected surfaces.
“This is a people’s war now,” Naresh Tehran of Medanta said. The next two weeks will determine where India goes in this battle.
Current infections in India are imported cases and their contacts. There’s no evidence of people without travel history getting infected.
Many experts have said government should have locked down international airports much earlier.
Meanwhile, the government is bracing to ready a public health infrastructure should India see community transmission which would mean many hospitalisations.
Current studies show the virus attacks 60 plus people with underlying disease the most. Boosting immunity can also help fight it. In 80 per cent people who encounter the virus symptoms will be mild. Twenty per cent will show severe symptoms out of which 5 per cent will need hospital management in the form of ventilators and management drugs as there is no treatment.
Government is hoping Indians will stay indoors and protect themselves from getting infected at least for two weeks until the virus curve plateaus.
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