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War against Corona

Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 12:30 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 06:59 [IST]

War against Corona

KAMAL BARUAH

The other day my colleagues Sapna, Naba and Tulika started to feel panicky and breathless after hearing a line “Where can I exchange my Dollar?” There was an Italian tourist at their desk without having any preventive mask. Soon after the customer service was provided, the entire area was sanitised. Such is the reality of today’s world. Now the entire world is grappling with the pandemic of Covid-19 Corona Virus (2019 nCoV) and facing the menace and preventing spread of the deadly virus. We need to exercise extra precaution to take care of ourselves. Apart from personal care, all of us have the responsibility of taking care of the community at large also.  One of the basic requirements of personal protection is use of masks, sanitizers, liquid soap etc. which must be used at home as well as at work-place to stop widespread devastation.

Such incident of fear is very rare to our civilization. Even World Wars did not affect as many countries as Coronavirus has done. The virus originated in Wuhan, the largest city in Central China. On Jan 23, 18 million people have been placed in isolation. Cutting off a city as large as Wuhan is unprecedented in public health history to isolate the virus and minimize the spread to other countries. Following Wuhan lock down, people from 183 countries and territories get infected till today. Cities are placed in quarantine and closed its train stations and international flights.

It finally quarantines human being now at the moment. There are no more handshakes with people amid fears. Indian greeting goes global as global leaders are seen doing Namaste in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. There are 254,682 cases of the virus globally with deaths of 10,442 till this time. Italy overtook the total number of deaths (3405) so far registered in China (3248).  The world has stepped up efforts against the pandemic by closing schools, shutting down cities and imposing strict control at border and air travel. China, Italy, Iran, Spain, Germany, USA, France get more than five digits numbers of active cases. India has five casualties with 223 cases of infected person. The World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus outbreak a Global Public Health Emergency. Are doomsdays arriving to our planet earth? 

We studied the Bible’s true story of Noah’s Ark at school how a vessel in the Genesis flood narrative through which God spares Noah, his family and all the world's animals from a world-engulfing flood. Does that story compare with the outbreak of Covid 19? Human beings have ruthlessly explored our earth. Are we the real threat to life of our planet? Nostradamus predicted then in the year 1551 that there will spread a plague originating China to destroy and ruin the world. Will it the end of world economy? The fear of Japanese aggression had panicked our forefathers, where Axis Military committed numerous atrocities against civilian and Allied military forces. Residents excavated primitive air raid shelter and moved elsewhere for safety after enemy fighters flying ultimate low at extreme sonic booms. I still recall some of those grandma’s stories of duck and cover from World War II.

This writer has remembered the forgotten victims from the fighting of Kargil War that left hundreds of casualties on both side of the LOC. We saw shells exploding on the mountaintops inside cave bunkers. Today we have another fear of self quarantine at home. Our Prime Minister calls for nationwide “Janata Curfew” on this Sunday for its citizen to fight Coronavirus with resolve and restraint. The magnitudes of the risk posed by this novel corona virus are dangerous as it can infect (transmission rate) people from a single case and the case fatality rate is death. Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14, during which the virus is contagious but the patient does not display any symptom. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

What's next? Is this a typically rhetorical question for this disaster? Our country needs to deal with or else we could possibly happen to see our day’s even worse. Are we facing the external threat to our human resources and even to the entire economy? Many sectors of the economy would suffer financial distress, especially the industries, which depend on the supply of materials from China. That is how Italy effected mostly with infected patients from leader industry importing from Wuhan. Since annual closing of financial institution is closer, transaction should switch over to digital mode through electronic payment minimising face to face meeting for lending. Ironically the pharmaceutical industry expects 12 to 18 months to roll out a Coronavirus vaccine. Let us all face the challenge in a united manner and come up trumps. 

The writer is a former Air warrior and currently works at SBI. He can be reached at kamal.baruah@yahoo.com

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi