The Covid-19, a global pandemic, is rising exponentially across the world with 341365 confirmed cases, 98866 total recovered and 14759 total deaths till March 23rd, 2020 as reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). China with 81454, Italy with 59138, US with 35224, Spain with 29909, Germany with 24904, Iran with 21638, and France with 16246 confirmed cases are the major contributors in global index till date. India, however, far below in numbers with 415 confirmed cases, 8 deaths and 23 recovered as reported by the official website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India (GoI) but it cannot be considered as a matter of relief because this is the most crucial time for the first significant rise in exponential curve.
Why this figure of nearly 400 Covid-19 cases are so important. Let us examine the trend of other countries. Italy has confirmed 453 cases on February 26th, it then reached to nearly 2500 cases in next one week and then after 11000 cases in another one week and so on. US has reported 402 cases on March 6th, it then reported nearly 2200 cases in next one week and then more than 19100 cases in next week and so on. Similarly, Spain, Germany and Iran have reported 400 to 2300 in one week, 2300 to 18000 in another week and so on, 482 to 2100 in one week, 2300 to 15300 in another week and so on, 388 to 3500 in one week, 3500 to 11400 in another week and so on respectively. These figures and trends of other countries are big indicators and alert for India. The 415 confirmed cases reported as on March 23rd are the outbreak numbers from where community transmission may start taking place.
The only advantage with India so far is that we have reached to this figure of 400 Covid-19 confirmed cases little behind the other highly affected countries. But, the major challenge starts here. How India can stop this rising trend which other developed nations were not able to make it on time with their advanced medical infrastructures and technologies. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) for countries with poor health systems. Many of Indian states fall in this category. Also, India doesn’t have proper big data system and technology to monitor every citizen. Since, the initial symptoms of the Covid-19 are similar to normal cough, cold and flu therefore it is very difficult to confirm the Covid-19 positive patients except proper Covid-19 test in designated laboratories by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Again, testing laboratories and medical infrastructures are not sufficient to deal with the major Covid-19 outbreak as far as Indian population is concerned. Keeping all these problems in account the solutions remain are isolation and quarantine of people.
The central and state governments in India are trying extraordinary measures. For example, a record of more than 1.5 lakhs of travellers have gone through temperature screening at different ports of India as per MoHFM data. However, these screenings are necessary but not sufficient to insure the Covid-19 positive person; most of the Covid-19 positive cases with foreign travel history have been identified after a week or so. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called one day ‘Janta Curfew’ on March 22nd across the nation which was very meticulously observed by the people of the country. Further, state governments have called lock down in states for next one week. All the government offices, except essential services, have been closed. Indian railways has stopped all its passenger train services. All these measures are highly essential at this stage in order to prevent the combat outbreak of the Covid-19 across the country. But these may not be sufficient to stop local transmission of this deadly virus. This requires not only individual discipline but also close monitoring of the each Covid-19 suspected and confirmed cases. In order to break the chain of Covid-19 outbreak, it depends how individuals, families and societies, more than the government, behave with responsibility and strictly follow the guidelines of Government and WHO.
Written by @sidiitkgp