New Delhi: Lending his support to the people of China, a country that is reeling under the spread of coronavirus that has so far killed over 1,000 people there, Padmashri award winner and sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sand art on Puri beach in Odisha. The sand art installation with three masked faces looking in three different directions had a thoughtful message,
We stand with #China: My #SandArt with the message, Fight against #CORONAVIRUS at Puri beach, #Odisha.
— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) February 10, 2020
On Tuesday, Mr. Pattnaik’s sand art was acknowledged by China’s Ambassador to India Sun Weidong with a simple message “Appreciate this message.”
Appreciate this message. https://t.co/OfVr1lOiwV
— Sun Weidong (@China_Amb_India) February 10, 2020
Meanwhile, the virus was given the name COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday where the CO stands for corona, the VI for virus and the D for disease. The organisation’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also thanked Mr. Pattnaik for his artwork,
Such a beautiful way to express solidarity to the people of #China during this challenging #2019nCoV outbreak. Thank you, @sudarsansand.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) February 10, 2020
Other social media users also joined in to show their unanimity with the message of Sudarsan Pattnaik’s post. A user wrote, “Thanks. I believe that we can defeat the virus at soon.”
Thank. I believe that we can defeat the virus at soon
— haoran826 (@haoran8262) February 11, 2020
Another wrote, “Thank you for your kind words.”
“Thanks. We are all human ! And We need to help each over by any means!” read one post.
Thanks. We are all human ! And We need to help each over by any means ! #weAreAllChinese
— Célestin-Alexis Agbessi (@ca_agbessi) February 10, 2020
Coronavirus Outbreak: How Prepared Is India?
While talking to NDTV about the preparedness of India to fight coronavirus, Dr. Nivedita Gupta from Indian Council of Medical Research said that as of now the country has dedicated 14 laboratories for testing coronavirus and the National Institute of Virology, Pune has been appointed as the nodal lab for coronavirus testing. She said,
These labs are situated in cities that have international airports so that passengers arriving from China and other foreign countries can be tested for coronavirus.
She further informed that these labs are well equipped with necessary equipment and expertise as these have earlier dealt with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2003 and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2014. She added,
Apart from these specialised labs, we have 106 labs across the country that are well-equipped in detecting influenza. Thus is if required, we can easily increase our specialised capacity from current 14 labs to 50 labs by using facilities from the network of these 106 labs.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, as on 09 February 2020, a total of 1,818 flights have been screened covering a total of 1,97,192 passengers. Screening of passengers is ongoing in 21 airports, international seaports and border crossings, particularly with Nepal. Presently over 6,000 passengers from 29 States/Union Territories are under home quarantine. Ms. Gupta said,
The main symptoms of novel coronavirus disease are fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing. People who have viral pneumonia will need supportive intensive care.
ICMR has also prepared a treatment plan with supervision from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to give a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir drugs that are approved for AIDS treatment, in case coronavirus infection becomes a public health emergency in the country.
India currently has two quarantine centre for keeping the people with symptoms or potential threats of having the virus in isolation to avoid the spread of the virus- Army Camp in Manesar, Gurugram and ITBP (Indo-Tibetian Border Police) Chawla camp, Delhi with 406 and 248 individuals quarantined respectively. According to Ms Gupta, quarantine or isolation period in case of coronavirus can range from 5 days to 17- 20 days but the country is currently putting people on 14 days isolation. However, medical researchers are still figuring out the ideal number of days.
Dr. Suryakant Tripathi of King George’s Medical University said,
The situation in India is nowhere as grim as at epicentre Wuhan (CHINA). While there have been three positive cases, there has not been any casualties. Till now, we have been able to contain the outbreak and it has not become an epidemic yet. This is because India has taken some really timely steps like bringing back the students from Wuhan and running awareness campaigns on the importance of handwashing and using masks.
He further said that government hospitals in almost every district of the country are keeping 10 beds reserved for coronavirus patients. He also added that the public health system will have to go the extra mile to check the potential spread of the virus.