- Slightest lapse can lead to tragedy: PM Modi
- Top doctors back PM Modi COVID-19 caution appeal amid festive season
- COVID-19 appropriate behaviour should be followed religiously: Doctors
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cautioned the nation, saying the lockdown is over, but not the pandemic and said COVID-19 cases can rise if everyone doesn’t comply with necessary precautions during the current festive season. In his address, he said that we are seeing many people across the country being careless and not wearing mask. He added, “If you are without masks you are endangering your family. Till we get a vaccine, we cannot be complacent. Social distancing, wearing mask and hand washing with soap is a must. Slightest lapse can lead to tragedy. India’s death rate is only 83 per million, we cannot let the guard down at this moment.”
NDTV speaks with top doctors – AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria and Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman and Managing Director of Medanta to know more about COVID-19 scenario in India and challenges posed by the festive season.
Dr Guleria said,
Festive season for India will be the biggest challenge because with great difficulty we have started to see the declining trend in terms of COVID-19 cases. But if we have to sustain this trend then we have to have COVID appropriate behaviour. And as mentioned by the Prime Minister there has been some kind of fatigue within people, we have seen so many videos in the recentLY floating around the news channels and social media where people are going to shops where there is no physical distancing being maintained and they are not even wearing masks. People are attending religious functions because of the festive season and that is what we are more concerned about because we know any of these events can become a super-spreader and it can result in huge spurt in number of coronavirus cases for India.
Sharing examples of other countries and what India can learn from their experiences, Dr Guleria added,
We have examples to see that tells you when you let your guard down, things get worse. For example, now, Europe is seeing another spike because people there have started to go about their lives without any COVID appropriate behaviour. On the other hand, when we see countries closer to us like South East Asia, they are not seeing any spike because these areas have been able to sustain the protective measures like social distancing, wearing a mask and handwashing and that’s why countries like Taiwan, Vietnam and Singapore are not seeing a spike in COVID-19 numbers.
He further added,
What we need to do is we need to look around, learn from these countries and see what they have done and how they have been able to contain the spread of the virus. We need to follow the COVID-19 appropriate behaviours at all point of time, we need to wear masks properly covering our nose and not just covering the mouth alone. We need to maintain good hand hygiene, basically take all the precautions which we were taking at the start, when coronavirus outbreak struck the world and not get an attitude that nothing will happen to us.
On the other hand, Dr Naresh Trehan warns people about the second wave of coronavirus in the winter season and said,
As the data is showing that we are seeing a declining trend. From 1 lakh cases a day to less than 50,000 cases a day. This is an inflection point which we must take very seriously and not capitalise on it because we will going to be back on the second peak before we know it and that will be disastrous for our country. Whatever gains we have made in all these months will be a waste if second peak for COVID-19 starts in India. We have just started our economic engine and if we stop it again there will be much longer recovery period.
Dr Trehan said that PM Modi’s message was very clear and has come at the right point in time, people need to understand that festivals just can’t be celebrated in the same way. He said,
If we are relaxed and are going about the festivities in the same way like we did before coronavirus times, we will all have to pay a heavy price for it. We need to understand, this virus is very different from past viruses, it has an R-O factor of 3 attached to it, which means one infected person will pass on the virus to three other people, they will infect 9 other people, which further will infect 27 and the number will go on. Until we bring this R-o factor to 1, we cannot even think about relaxing. If we can maintain this downward trend, then, by the end of November, we can see a very meaningful decline in our whole country. But, till we have a vaccine, please make sure, we follow all the precautionary measures, there are only three things that will protect us from this battle – wearing a mask, social distancing and maintaining a good hand hygiene.
Speaking about the winter season and sharing tips how people can take precautions as it won’t be possible to take bath every time after coming home from outside and wash clothes that regularly, as in winter season people tend to wear same jackets for weeks, he said,
There is data emerging now that shows transmission of viruses from surfaces may not be an important factor. But we still need to be cautious. So, even now, when people come home from outside, they need to take few precautions, they need to remove the layer of jacket outside their home at a safe place and then wash hands immediately. If they need to wear the jacket again without washing then they should give it good 8 to 9 hours gap and once they touch and wear it, they should immediately wash their hands. This way the possibility of spreading the virus from the jacket or piece of cloth gets minimal. Even if the virus is on your jacket, it cannot crawl up to your face and cause the infection, the only way you can get infected is if the virus contaminates your hands. The main important point here is that you need to wash your hands properly and regularly, just wash them whenever you touch any unknown surfaces.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.