Coronavirus: Is India ready to tackle the situation?

Coronavirus: Is India ready to tackle the situation?

Coronavirus: Is India ready to tackle the situation?


So the Wuhan coronavirus has now spread to all 31 regions of China with around 7,800 confirmed cases till Thursday. There are 17 more countries where at least one confirmed case has been found. Major airlines have cancelled flights to mainland China and many countrie, including India, have started evacuating their citizens from Wuhan. In fact, Air India's B747 aircraft has left to Wuhan this afternoon to evacuate Indians.

WHO has declared this outbreak a 'Global Health Emergency' after many human to human interaction cases have been found all across the globe. Even when it has no direct cure as of now, more than 100 cases of Coronavirus in China have been controlled and a few of the patients have been discharged as well.

Do you know how?

Because the Finance Ministry of China has allocated around $4 billion for prevention and control measures of coronavirus and the country has done remarkably well from the allocated fund. A 1,000 bed Huoshenshan facility will be operational from February 3 and a 1,600-bed hospital at Leishenshan will be operational from February 5.

Not even 2 weeks after they started planning.

The combined population of India and China is 36 per cent of the total population of the world. Hence with no vaccine found yet, India is the most vulnerable country in this situation with current infrastructure and planning,

India is ready to tackle Coronavirus: MEA

- 5 pilots, 15 cabin crew, 5 doctors & 1 para medic along with Amitabh Singh Chief of Pilots left for Wuhan to evacuate around 325 Indians by Air India's B747 aircraft this afternoon

- All evacuated Indians will be kept in quarantine outside Delhi

- Indian Army setting up corona virus isolation centre at Manesar for Wuhan returnees

- Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has informed that screening of passengers has been increased to 20 airports from seven earlier

- The number of laboratories testing coronavirus samples will be increased to 10 instead 1

- Citizens with travel history to China since January 1, 2020 have been asked to report to the nearest hospital in case of any health issues

- Indian Ports have been asked to deny shore permits to vessels coming from China

- As of now only one case of Coronavirus has been confirmed in the country - a Wuhan University student from Kerala. Her health is stable as of now

- Health advisory, Guidelines & Helpline number (011-23978046) has been issued by The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Challenges and Vulnerabilities of Indian Health Sector

- The Budget for the health sector in financial year 2019-20 was Rs 62,398 crore which is hardly 1 per cent of the total GDP. Moreover, public total public expenditure is around 17 per cent in India, against 24 per cent in China above 44 per cent in US and Sri Lanka. Hence the low health standards.

- There is a huge geographical inequality in Indian health sector & majority of the rural population is far away from the modern health services

- WHO's recommended ratio of doctor to patient is 1:1000, in India it is 1:1445

- Out of 23,582 government hospitals 19,810 are in rural areas & everyone is aware of their condition. Hardly any of them are well equipped to handle any kind of medical emergency or crisis.

Immediate steps which Indian Government should take

- The advisory issued on Coronavirus should reach to both rural and urban sectors of the society through social media, TV, radio & print advertisements

- Learn from China & develop quick response mechanism

- State governments should be ready with protocols of distributing N95 masks, surgical gowns, and goggles

- All international airports should be facilitated with screening of passengers

- Passengers with travel history to China should be specially monitored till at least 1 week & government authorities should have ready information.

Basic Guidelines for each and every individuals (WHO)

- Clean your hands 3 times a day with soap & water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers

- Cover your nose and mouth while you or someone around you is coughing and sneezing

- Avoid any sort of close contact with someone who has cold or flu

- Eat thoroughly cooked non vegetarian food.

- No unprotected contact with live wild or farm animal

And last but not the least, keep sharing the information with your loved ones & spread awareness. Together we can fight this out.

(Vedank Singh is a political commentator. Views expressed are personal)