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Monday, April 27, 2020

No. of people discharged from Tamil Nadu crossed 1000 .. positive signs - Covid 19

The existential crisis is ‘to read or not to read’ – not one of ‘to know or know not’ !

Long back a Doctor scared me on the evil effects of eating food outside and recommended that   washing  hands is  the most important habit to be inculcated.  Spending 20 seconds under the sink with soap is the best way to get rid of germs on your hands, and proper hand-washing still trumps hand sanitizer in terms of effectiveness.  Household names are household names for a reason -- they work and people like them. But have you observed that most (including the household name of disinfectant in  India) – carry a label ‘anti-bacterial’ – then how effective are they against virus ?

A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism.  Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and are the most numerous type of biological entity.  Bacteria and viruses are microscopic microbes. Bacteria are living cells which can be either beneficial or harmful to other organisms. Viruses have to invade the body of a host organism in order to replicate their particles. Therefore, most viruses are pathogenic.  Corona is not new, it is a type of virus and there are many different kinds – some cause disease.  The one threatening mankind emanated from Wuhan, China and was named Covid-19.  Amidst all the apprehensions, fear, negative mind, negative media, criticism – is there something positive to look at – YES !

After recording 1,975 fresh novel coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, India's Covid-19 cases count surged to 26,917 today, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data. On the first day of the ‘total lockdown’ in Tamilnadu on Sunday, most streets in the city wore a deserted look. Cops and conservancy workers were the only ones about.  To add some cheer, there were heavy showers early in the morning.

The new coronavirus  has caused a global disease epidemic and all but turned the lights out on much of the world’s economy. The next ripple effect could be a new Cold War, this time between China and the United States.  The world’s two biggest economies are still trying to grasp the unprecedented scale of the pandemic’s consequences. Global growth forecasts have been ripped up and job losses are running into the millions and counting, while governments are pulling together rescue packages worth hundreds of billions of dollars that dwarf those of the financial crisis 12 years ago. US President Donald Trump  last week indicated what some of those shadows might be, saying at a press conference that the US was investigating the origins of Covid-19 in Wuhan. He said that there would be consequences if China was found to be “knowingly responsible” for the outbreak that has now killed more than 200,000 people around the world.  The British government also waded in, with cabinet minister Michael Gove telling the BBC last month that China had failed to convey the “scale, nature and infectiousness” of the disease. German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the chorus, calling for more transparency from China about the origin of the virus. This all pointed to “tense international relations” in the post-coronavirus world.

Yet there is some good news from the origin or the epicenter as one may choose to call – the  city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, no longer has any Covid-19 patients in hospital after the last 12 were discharged on Sunday.  Their release ended a four-month nightmare for the city, where the disease was first detected in December. The number of patients being treated for Covid-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, peaked on February 18 at 38,020 – nearly 10,000 of whom were in severe or critical condition. “With the joint efforts of Wuhan and the national medical aid given to Hubei province, all cases of Covid-19 in Wuhan were cleared as of April 26,” Mi Feng, a spokesman for the National Health Commission said on Sunday afternoon.  The announcement came only one day after the city discharged the last patient who had been in a severe condition. That patient also was the last severe case in Hubei province.  Wuhan was the hardest hit city in China, accounting for 50,333 of the 82,827 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases recorded in China. More than 4,600 died in the country from the disease.  On March 13, the city reported for the first time that there were no new suspected cases of the infection, and five days later there were no confirmed cases.

Tamil Nadu registered a welcome milestone in the fight against Covid-19 on Sunday when the number of people discharged from hospital crossed 1,000, leaving 865 under treatment. And, 13 districts have not recorded a fresh case for at least five days now.  The Niligiris has not had anyone test positive for 15 days and Ranipet hasn’t reported a new case for the last 13 days. Krishnagiri retained its Covid-free record as the sample of a 43-year-old man tested negative. Pudukottai and Dharampuri have only one case each. Cases in Perambalur and Ariyalur have not exceeded single digits. Public health experts, however, warned that more testing was needed to conclude the rate of infection was slowing.

Chennai, however, continued to report the most positive cases in the state, with 28 more on Sunday taking its tally to 523. The state as a whole recorded 64 more positive cases.  The numbers are large in Chennai because we are seeing clusters. Seven members of a family in Royapuram tested positive today,” said a senior health official. “One more person tested positive taking the count to 16 in a row of houses at Asirvathapuram in Pulianthope,” he said.

We would be failing in our duty to appreciate another good initiative – ‘Annapoorna Trains’  from North and Jai Kisan Special from South mark the beginning of long distance super heavy fast special Freight trains. Almost 5000 tons and more than 80 rakes long long haul loaded foodgrain trains run fast to connect the nation. More than 3.2 Million Tonnes of food grains have been loaded between 1st April - 16th April this year as compared to 1.29 Million Tonnes in the same corresponding period last year.

Indian Railways in its endeavor to ensure transportation  of essential items during the nationwide lock down due to COVID-19, continues to deliver essential commodities like food grains through its freight services to strengthen Government’s efforts in managing the challenges and adverse impact of corona virus in the country. The Union Government has been focusing special attention to ensure that the supply chains of essential goods are maintained, besides ensuring that farm produce is transported without hindrance within the state and inter-state. To ensure delivery of bigger volumes at a faster speed, Indian Railways have innovated by joining two freight trains together. Success Stories and Innovations have come from Northern Railways and South Central Railways.

Northern Railway has formed 5000 tonnes long lead long haul loaded foodgrain trains. 25 such Annapoorna trains have been formed and run by NR upto 16.04.2020. They covered the states like Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Mizoram. These long lead long haul grain trains have gone up to New Bongaigaon (NBQ) in NFR. Like NR , As part of this endeavour, now the South Central Zone of Indian Railways too has come up with a unique concept of running “Jai Kisan” Special freight trains so as to ensure speedy delivery of foodgrains to different parts of the country. Under this concept, two freight trains loaded from two different originating stations are clubbed at the nearest junction point and moved as single train up to the common junction point of the destination stations taking the advantage of path availability due to non-running of passenger carrying trains.

Under normal circumstances, one freight train containing 42 covered wagons loaded with food grains carries around 2600 tonnes. But in the new concept two freight trains means 42+42 =84 covered wagons with 5200 tonnes capacity food grains will be moved in a single path. This concept drastically reduces the journey time of the freight trains to their respective destinations. Maintaining continuity in supply chain was stiffer on account of tough working conditions due to lockdown. A constant coordination for terminal release/labour availability with DMs/SPs at district level, state coordinating officers, and at apex level with MHA is being done by operating officers of Indian Railways. A meticulous prior planning is being done with FCI for arranging destinations as per requirement in states. In this lockdown period, moving staff from house to control and office is being done through emergency vehicles and workman special trains. The sanitization of control and other offices is also being ensured so that staff feels safe and confident in working.

Let us hope that sooner we forget Covid 19 and are back to our routine spending money on movies and discussing on which team will quality in IPL 2020.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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