Race against COVID-19
The impact of COVID-19 has been quite significant as the whole world has come united to fight against the virus. The rapid spread of the virus has sparked alarm worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In this hour of crisis it is our individual responsibility to be well informed and follow the guidelines set by global bodies such as WHO and national health authority.
What is Covid-19 and how does it spread?
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus, known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets infect the surrounding objects and surfaces. The disease is then spread to other people by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. The disease can also be spread by directly breathing in droplets from a person with COVID-19. So, it is advised to stay more than 1 meter away from a person who is sick.
Symptoms and when to see a doctor –
The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure. The symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people may be infected but show no symptoms and feel no discomfort. About 80% of people recover from the disease without any special treatment. People with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes and older people are more likely to develop serious illness.
Contact your doctor right away if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if you live in or have travelled from an area with ongoing community spread of COVID-19. Call your doctor ahead and tell him about your symptoms and recent travels and possible exposure before your appointment.
Anyone with respiratory symptoms who haven’t been in an area with ongoing community spread can contact their doctor for further recommendations and guidance.
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak and be wary of false information. Most people become infected experience mild illness and recover, but for others, it can be severe. Take care of your health and protect others by doing and avoiding the following:
- Avoid large events and mass gatherings.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
- Keep a distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, especially if you have a higher risk of serious illness.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or use a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue in a bin and close the bin.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if your hands aren’t clean.
- Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch on a daily basis.
- Stay home from work, school and public areas if you’re sick unless it’s to get medical care.
- Avoid taking public transport if you’re sick.
- Avoid hoarding of essentials like sanitizers and masks.
- Maintain quarantine of at least 14 days if you travelled to an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
- Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Lockdown guidelines –
To prevent any further spread of the virus the Indian government has declared a nationwide lockdown. Here are the guidelines:
- Offices of the Government of India, its autonomous/subordinate offices and public corporations shall remain closed.
Exceptions – Defence, central armed forces, treasury, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), disaster management, power generation and transmission units, post offices, National Informatics Centre, Early Warning Agencies.
- Offices of the state/union territory governments, their autonomous bodies, corporations, etc. shall remain closed.
Exceptions – Police, home guards, civil defence, fire & emergency services, disaster management, and prisons. District administration and treasury. Electricity, water, sanitation. Municipal bodies – only staff required for essential services like sanitation, personal related to water supply etc.
- Hospitals and all related medical establishments both in public and private sector will continue to remain functional. The transportation for all medical personnel and other hospital services shall be permitted.
- Commercial and private establishments shall be closed down.
Exceptions – Shops including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder. Banks, insurance offices and ATMs. Print and electronic media. Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services.
IT and IT enabled Services (only for essential services).
Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through E-commerce.
Petrol pump, LPG, petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets.
Power generation, transmission and distribution units and services.
Capital and debt market services as notified by the securities and exchange board of India.
Cold storage and warehousing services.
Private security services.
All other establishments may work from home.
- Industrial Establishments will remain closed.
Exceptions – Manufacturing units of essential commodities. Production units, which require continuous process, after obtaining required permission from the state government.
- All transport services – air, rail, and roadways will remain suspended.
Exceptions – Transportation for essential goods only. Fire, law and order and emergency services.
- Hospitality services to remain suspended.
Exceptions – Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew. Establishments used/earmarked for quarantine facilities.
- All educational, training, research, coaching institutions etc. shall remain closed.
- All places of worship shall be closed for public. No religious congregations will be permitted, without any exception.
- All social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ gatherings shall be barred.
- In case of funerals, congregation of not more than twenty persons will be permitted.
- Every individual who have arrived into India after 15.02.2020, and any individual who have been directed by health care personnel to remain under strict home/institutional quarantine should do so for a period as decided by local health authorities.
- Wherever exceptions to above containment measures have been allowed, the organisations/employers must ensure necessary precautions against the virus, as well as social distancing measures.
The above containment measures will remain in force, in all parts of the country, for a period of 21 days with effect from 25.03.2020.
While the world is fighting against this pandemic it is necessary to not panic and cause further disruption. The Govt. is doing whatever is necessary to fight the virus and now it is our duty to follow the necessary guidelines and stop the virus from spreading any further. Responsibility starts with you.