Thursday, March 19, 2020

Covid 19 ~ how should the Nation needs to respond : PM Modiji speaks


Tonight @ 8 pm, the Nation heard with awe – the speech of our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji – extremely balanced, explaining the situation, measures, expectations and plan of action.  I support #JANATACURFEW `~ social distancing and clapping those rendering services @ 5pm on 22.3.2020.

A virus is a protein box with genetic material inside which needs a living cell to replicate. It enters the cell through binding with receptors and “reprogrammes it” to make copies of itself, working as a template to replicate more viruses inside the body.

As of today, 217,845 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed, resulting in 9,177 fatalities worldwide. After its discovery last December, in Wuhan, China, the virus started to spread around the world, causing panic. The Antarctic is, as yet, the only continent where there are no confirmed cases. There are seven types of coronaviruses that are contagious for humans. Four types (NL63, 229E, OC43 and HKU1) are responsible for 15 to 30% of the world’s common cold cases every year and are considered endemic. Two other types are considered epidemic: the Sars outbreak, which affected 26 countries and first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002, and Mers, which was first reported in 2012 and is prevalent in the Middle East.
Source : South China Morning Post

At the moment, we know that the virus is transmitted through contaminated droplets. Droplets of saliva or mucus carrying the respiratory virus can travel one to three metres through coughing or sneezing. The virus needs to fully enter the respiratory tract for infection to happen, but that's why the risk of infection can be reduced by avoiding close contact with sick people. Washing your hands thoroughly greatly reduces the risk of infection.

With so many affected and with many Countries struggling to contain the dreaded disease spreading – there are problems aplenty.  With Europe’s internal borders closing, there are concerns deliveries of medical supplies could be disrupted in Italy. With many of Europe’s internal borders closed, transport times have lengthened for medical supplies to reach Italy, currently the world’s epicentre of the Covid-19  outbreak.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would close its border to non-resident visitors, except for U.S. travellers and a limited number of international exemptions (such as diplomats and flight crew).

The whole Nation was glued to TV as Narendra Modiji addressed the citizens. "You have always given me what I've asked for, and today I am here to ask for your time over the next few weeks. It is necessary for every citizen of India to be aware and cautious about the COVID-19 infection, over the next few weeks," Narendra Modiji said.

"Resolution and restraint is very important in combat against this global epidemic. As citizens, people need to strengthen their resolve to follow the advisories issues by state and central governments to fight," he said.  Advocating social distancing to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Narendra Modi spoke passionately of self-enforced restraint by the people, for the people – “Janata Curfes on 22.3.2020 from 7 am to 9 pm”

PM requested the citizens to avoid  travelling out of the house unless it is essential travel.  He said that the present situation has affected more Nations and people than during the World Wars. Giving the example of a 'blackout' during times of war, Modi appealed to people to exercise caution regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and said that citizens over 60-65 years must not step out of their homes.  He asked every Indian to be vigilant. 

On 22.3.2020 besides observing curfes, @  5 PM he requested all people to stand at balconies  of homes,  express gratitude to those working round the clock to keep India healthy (such as doctors, nurses, paramedics, municipal staff, armed forces, airport staff) by clapping.  "For last 2 months, millions are working day and night in hospitals and airports and those serving others by not taking care of themselves. On 22 March, at 5pm, we should stand on our doorways, balconies, in our windows and keep clapping hands and ringing the bells for 5 mins to salute and encourage them."

He advised the Nation to avoid  going to hospitals for routine check-ups. If there are surgeries that can be postponed, let them be postponed by a month least.  He announced formation of COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force under the leadership of the Finance Minister to comprehensively look at ways to boost the economy.  He advised citizens to stay away from rumours and not to indulge in panic buying.   Powerful message indeed ! .. I salute our PM and pledge to follow all that he advised.

Wuhan police have apologised to the family of a doctor whose death sparked national outrage after it emerged he had been disciplined for trying to warn colleagues about the Covid-19 outbreak. A statement by the city’s public security bureau said it would withdraw the reprimand issued to Li Wenliang and would learn lessons from the case after the authorities in Beijing blamed a local police station for mishandling the case. An investigation team from the state supervision authority said the Zhongnan Road station had “issued improper instructions” and followed “irregular” law enforcement procedures, according to a report released by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on Thursday evening. Li was one of several doctors detained for passing on information about the emergence of the coronavirus in Wuhan in late December.  .. .. and that is Communist China




The first case of the virus likely occurred in mid-November, 2019. While identifying a novel virus of course takes time, Taiwan identified the outbreak and banned flights from Hubei before the end of 2019. By comparison, before China finally acknowledged the gravity of the situation in late January, some five million people left Hubei, allowing the disease to spread throughout China and the world.  Chinese authorities had this information and data but refused to release it in a timely manner, instead preferring an ever-changing narrative about the outbreak that made medical assessments on the coronavirus and its impact very difficult. Crucial weeks were lost that could have helped to contain the country-wide and later global spread of this virus.

Most recently, Chinese government propagandists have promoted a bizarre story about the outbreak in Wuhan being caused by the United States Army. This latest conspiracy, reported by Eto Buziashvili of the Atlantic Council, is seemingly inspired by the KGB’s Operation Infektion from the 1980s, which involved the KGB planting a story in a pro-Kremlin newspaper in India where it was claimed that HIV/AIDS was developed in a CIA laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. The Russian disinformation campaign eventually metastasized within the U.S. media environment, eventually reaching mainstream U.S. national news in 1983.

The Guardian reports that the  rapid spread of coronavirus around the world could have been substantially curtailed if the broad swath of measures China brought in to control the outbreak were introduced just weeks earlier, researchers say. Sophisticated modelling of the outbreak suggests that China had 114,325 cases by the end of February 2020, a figure that would have been 67 times higher without interventions such as early detection, isolation of the infected, and travel restrictions. But if the interventions could have been brought in a week earlier, 66% fewer people would have been infected, the analysis found. The same measures brought in three weeks earlier could have reduced cases by 95%.

“From a purely scientific standpoint, putting in place a combination of interventions as early as possible is the best way to slow spread and reduce outbreak size,” said Prof Andrew Tatem at the University of Southampton. The population mapping group WorldPop at Southampton ran models on human movement and illness onset to simulate different outbreak scenarios in cities in mainland China. The models reveal how combinations of interventions and when they are introduced affects the speed and transmission of the disease. The study suggests it was crucial to move fast with the interventions China used to contain the outbreak. If testing, isolation and travel bans were brought in one, two or three weeks later than they were, the number of cases could have rocketed three, seven and 18-fold respectively.

It is time, we stand by our Prime Minister and our Nation – ensure that we stay healthy, and ensure the health of the Nation also by ensuring that the dreaded disease does not spread any further.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Mar 2020.

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