Say NO to CORO-NA Threat
India is one of the countries who have acted swiftly to ward off Coronavirus threat. So far GoI has done a commendable job to fight the Covid-19 and until now only 147 cases have been detected of which 14 have been treated, 3 have unfortunately died and 130 cases are still live (Source: Worldometer.com, Last Updated: March 18, 2020), the efforts of GoI are even praised by WHO. Starting from extraditing the Indian citizens from Covid-19 affected countries, screening of all international incoming passengers, admitting and treating the affected persons, identifying the close contacts of affected persons and quarantining them and extending the mitigating endeavors by taking important social distancing decisions at local administration level.
So far so good, but now India has moved to Stage II of Coronavirus Epidemic where Local Transmission is taking place followed by Stage I- Imported Cases from affected countries. At the moment India needs to control the Community Transmission which is the Stage III of the epidemic and if not checked virus transmission is very quick leading to uncontrolled Stage IV- the Epidemic. This is already being observed in Italy and Iran where number of Covid-19 cases have grown manifold in just two weeks due to swift Community Transmission. We need to avoid this perilous scenario, GoI and different state governments have done a commendable job of social distancing through imposing lockdowns on schools, colleges, universities, multiplexes, standalone cinema halls, gyms, tourist and religious places, postponing IPL and various sports events and banning any formal gathering.
At this point of time India needs to address two main issues, first, it is to control the Community Transmission and secondly set off the economic slowing down effect of social distancing since social distancing and lockdowns are spurring slowdown mainly in services sector. To control Community Transmission we need to strengthen up our Coronavirus fighting facilities and infrastructure. Government may look up and explore the following options to address the issues:
1. Enhancing the Testing Facilities: along with the government testing the private accredited testing labs should be roped in and free testing should be provided through following a proper testing protocol. Government shall announce that the testing cost would be borne the state and it will be reimbursed.
2. Sprucing up the Quarantine Infrastructure: presently the government has installed the limited quarantine facility through the state resources. This is planned to be enhanced drastically by roping in private hospitals and making them creating the quarantine facility on their own. Some protocol shall be worked up like minimum number of quarantine ward per number of beds the hospital offers. It may also be enhanced through some innovative thinking like tie up with hotels and motels to give proper quarantine spaces on professional basis. This will increase the facility and also address the business concerns of the hospitality sector creating win-win situation for both parties
3. Extending the Economic Stimulus: social distancing leads to sharp slowdown especially in the service sector. US government is already preparing to request $850 billion economic stimulus from the senate. GoI should also start the endeavors to face the economic and social aftermath of the Corona Pandemic. The stimulus may be form of rebates and subsidies especially to the sectors where the impact of slowdown is severe. The central banks may also mull the quantitative easing and other such steps that facilitate the business and industry.
Having said these things, it is not possible to avert any crisis affecting the citizens of a country without the support of citizens themselves. Government is doing all possible efforts to prevent the epidemic and minimize its effects. We as responsible citizens shall follow all the advisories, make other citizens aware, controlling and not pass any unauthenticated information especially through Whatsapp groups, not believing and passing the rumors and doing our bit and best to fight the epidemic. Together we can, and we will fight it off and say ‘NO’ to CORO-NA.