1,26,380 cases and 4,634 deaths across 114 countries--the coronavirus outbreak has created mass paranoia across the globe. The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday officially declared that the outbreak can now be characterised as global pandemic. "We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday. India, meanwhile, has invoked Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act as one of the many measures to deal with the crisis.
A total of 73 persons (including foreign nationals) have been tested positive of coronavirus in India, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
While the world 'Pandemic' has nothing to do with how serious the illness is, it just means a disease that is spreading widely across a state or globe. The WHO, however, also announced that the alarming rise though is concerning, countries must not panic and should not give up on trying to contain the virus.
The bigger question is: Will India be able to contain the virus if it spreads? With a population density as high as 420 people/ per square kilometre and a rapid rate of internal migration, containing the outbreak to one locality will be much tougher in India as compared to other countries globally. Therefore, the need of the hour lies in being prepared to fight it internally. However, there's one thing that's worth noting: While the outbreak has been declared a pandemic, its recovery rate must be studied in order to avoid panic. According to China’s National Health Commission, of more than 80,000 confirmed cases in the country over 60,000 have recovered. This translates into more than 70 per cent recovery rate for coronavirus patients in China. Many health researchers in India have also mentioned that most of the patients tested positive will recover on their own and they might just need a drug like paracetamol for fever and cough, just as in the case of any other seasonal flu. On the contrary, the number of deaths in India due to swine flu has gone up to 9 in Uttar Pradesh alone.
As the number of positive cases is rapidly rising, countries across the globe are gearing up to fight coronavirus. Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson are among the latest group of people to have tested positive for coronavirus in Australia. 63-year old Hanks is the first major Hollywood star to publicly announce that he has the virus.
An attendee of Women's T20 World Cup Final between India and Australia, which was held on March 8 in Melbourne, has also tested positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, Indian citizens who are stuck at Rome's Fiumicino airport in Italy have sent out an SOS message via social media to the Indian Embassy and the Government of India. This happened after the government made it mandatory for people to provide a certificate declaring them coronavirus-free. The Indian government, however, promised them they will send a team of doctors to collect their test samples and then they'd be brought back.
In light of the growing number of cases in the country, India has taken several measures to curb the outbreak:
Provisions of Epidemic Act invoked: Around the time when WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, the Indian govt has declared that all states and Union Territories should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897-- an act which was once used to control plague in the late 1800s. Under this, the centre may empower state to take measures going beyond the scope of the ordinary law.
Govt issues advisory on mass gatherings: The Centre has advised state authorities to take steps to avoid mass gatherings. However, in a case where such gatherings are organised, the centre has ordered the state to take necessary action to guide the organisers with regard to all the precautions that should be taken.
Visa cancellations: India has virtually quarantined itself from the rest of the world. How? All visas issued to foreign nationals have been suspended, except those issued for diplomatic organisations. This will come into effect from tomorrow, March 13.
Corporate Sector Steps Up Safety: Companies like HCL have directed their employees to work remotely or from home. All Paytm employees in Gurugram have been advised to work from home for a couple of days after one employee was tested positive. On a global scale, Amazon has increased the number of paid leaves for employees while Twitter has asked its global workforce to work from home, if possible.
Major hit to India's trade with China: According to a UN Report, India's economy is among the 15 most-affected in the world due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China. The impact on India is estimated to be about 348 million dollars. Various industries including pharmaceuticals, electronics, mobiles, and auto parts are expected to suffer a major hit with China being under a lockdown. The auto industry has also warned poor production since 10% of raw materials are imported from China.
Cloud over IPL: With no foreign player being available till April 15, the Indian Premier League (IPL) may not kick-off on its earlier scheduled date of March 29. Even if the BCCI decides to go ahead, the league won't witness a foreign soil player for most of April.
Big blow to the tourism and aviation industry: IndiGo has already declared that its quarterly earnings will be severely impacted because of the virus. In a desperate move, SpiceJet has reduced its fares drastically. The airlines has launched a Spring Season Sale that offers domestic tickets at a starting price of Rs 987 and international tickets from Rs 3,699.
Nifty Slips To Its Lowest Since 2018: Global Sell-off pushed Nifty50 below 10,000 levels this morning while the S&P BSE Sensex broke below 34,000.
With multiple Whatsapp forwards and increasing anxiety around the name of coronavirus, it is extremely important to have the right information. Here's a list of all the fake news you should NOT believe about COVID-19:
So stay safe, and stay away from fake news!
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