BY DR IMTIYAZ RASOOL GANAI
We can I’ll afford to be negligent towards the ramifications of a new variant, as we have bitter experience from last two years. From the very few cases of covid 19 to the disastrous pandemic, Covid 19 engulfed the world.
From families to global level it was tough for people and governments to combat it. Now we should be more cautious about this situation.
No doubt the experiences of pandemic may haunt us for long, but now we are in a position to face the situation boldly with utmost precautions and preventive measures. At this juncture the situation seems under control as per health ministry GoI the active cases in India account for less than 1% of the total cases and are currently at 0.27% - lowest in last few months. The various covid related facilities and requirements are in place, and lot more are being augmented and ensured.
We must have a preemptive and proactive approach viz a viz new SARS-COV-2, Variant, B.1.1..529 know as omicron, the variant of concern. From last week we observed that in South African countries to the US, the UK, Australia, Arab countries, and India, we see sudden surge in new cases. This left medical fraternity in a defensive position. WHO chief scientist has declared that omicron has 3 times more probability of re-infection than Delta variant, and the kids and unvaccinated people are prone to virus. But she also said, “we need to wait, let’s hope it’s milder. But it’s too early to conclude about the variant as a whole”. In India the health ministry has issued fresh guidelines for the travelers, given the fact that travelers are the carriers of this virus. Last year we could not plug it in time which had far reaching consequences. In India, 23 cases were found till December,7 among effected person in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Govt has stepped up the measures of vaccination, surveillance, and containment.
Disaster management department has enforced guidelines under Disaster Management Act 2005. J&K geared up efforts to monitor travelers who are at high risk. So the govt has tightened supervision and special RTPCR centres, and quarantine places were designated. We need to keep vigil on airports, train stations, entry and exit points on national highways 24×7.
General public has a major role to play. People must follow ensure SOPs and covid appropriate behavior in daily routine. They must avoid large public gathering at hospitals, offices, religious places, marriages, coaching centers, and examination halls.
Need of the hour is to provide additional doses of vaccine to vulnerable groups, impose social distancing, ensure wearing masks and establish random check posts round the clock to monitor the inflow of tourist.
Timely tracing of contacts can help us in a great way to prevent the viral chain. All the sensitivities of covidshould be delineated. Children, old aged and other susceptible groups must be protected from the onslaught of the new variant.
At community level we must follow the SOPs strictly, because stringent measures can help us protect the lives. Health and other allied departments must chalk out early strategy. Vaccination of left over people, and booster doses for already vaccinated people, if advised by the experts, are needed.
Medical oxygen generating plants have now much capacity than previous years, and should be in place at primary health centre level to tertiary hospital. Separate hospitals in rural and urban areas for covid patients helped to contain the spread last time.
Same should be done this time either, in case we we have more cases. Special drugs and other required items and machines need to be available. People should mindfully follow the government orders and adopt covid appropriate behavior. Rush at designated centres can be reduced by establishing new centres for RTPCR tests.
There is no need for panic but being alert is always helpful. As per India’s top genome sequencing expert Dr Anurag Agarwal, “Panicking is not the best response to the new variant but reasonable response is required”.
The study on the said variant is going on and its far reaching effects can be determined after getting reports and results from various research bodies. Let’s follow the SOPs and play our part to save lives.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.