The world is on complete lockdown and in grapples due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has affected more than 7 lakhs people in the world and every day the number is increasing at a rapid speed. India – home to more than 1.3 billion people in the world and the second-largest population of the world are at a higher risk of facing a dangerous crisis if the spread continues in its region. As of now, coronavirus has affected more than 1000 people and caused 30 deaths in India. It is believed by the officials that most of the coronavirus cases of India have come from travelers – an Italian tour group visiting Rajasthan single-handedly. The coronavirus situation in India is getting worse day by day.
Public health experts are extremely worried that the current situation can worsen and will be out of control if community transmission begins to take off in the urban areas that account for 35% of the total population. Another factor that is worrisome regarding the coronavirus outbreak in India is the lack of proper testing facilities and the scarcity of beds in hospitals.
Misconception about the coronavirus primarily through WhatsApp is also spreading throughout the country which is making the situation more complicated. The right-wing Hindu nationalist government is supporting misinformation such as the claim of AYUSH to cure coronavirus, statement of lawmaker Suman to use cow urine and cow dung to cure coronavirus and false news circulating in the country targeted at China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the masses on 24th March 2020 on the vital aspects relating to the outbreak of coronavirus in India. He gave important prevention measures for the citizens to follow such as strict social distancing, containing coughs and sneezes properly, practicing good cleanliness techniques, quarantine for those who are sick and following instructions.
However, the COVID-19 infection rate in India remains low relative to population size. India was one of the few countries to shut down its borders and achieve a complete lockdown in the states after the cases were reported. Till now, many measures were taken by the government to prevent coronavirus transmission. The ministry of external affairs postponed the Indian Cricket League – India’s biggest cricket festival and state authorities are shutting down schools, gyms, swimming pools, malls, theatres and practicing complete lockdowns, in the worst-hit regions.
The demographics also work in India’s advantage since the population is considerably younger than other countries so there are better chances of younger people coping up with viruses. Another advantage is said to be the hot weather but it is not clinically proven to have a major effect. India has impressively scaled up its testing kits from 20,000 in January to now approx. 1 million and that tests are more widely available, which can be processed in a few days at a network of more than 50 national labs. WHO representative Henk Bekedam, regarded the responses of India as ‘good’ and ‘impressive’ and praised that ‘ India is doing quite well’.
The only danger that lies now is that the coronavirus situation in India can worsen if the super spreader cases emerge. Also, the habits of citizens regarding hygiene can be proved to be harmful if not improved. For now, the government, police officers and healthcare personnel are doing all they can to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. But the real control lies in the hands of the public to listen to the instructions and work together to stop the transmission.