The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has turned into a global crisis. The highly infectious-disease has affected 109 countries and territories around the world and one international conveyance – the Diamond Princess cruise ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 3,300 people have died globally from COVID-19 while more than 101,000 infections have been confirmed so far. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this deadly outbreak as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)” on 30th January and raised the level of global risk to “very high” on 28th February.
WHO suggests that clinical care of patients with COVID-19 focuses on early recognition, immediate isolation and implementation of appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) measures; provision of symptomatic care for those with mild illness; and optimised supportive care for those with severe disease.
Accordingly, authorities across the world are adopting drastic measures to try and stamp out the infection and India is no exception. With more than 30 confirmed cases of Covid-19 having been reported so far, the government is preparing a ‘containment plan’ for states to arrest its spread.
“The need of this hour is to take a more strategic approach like a cluster containment strategy, making the district collectors more accountable, contact tracing and strengthening state and district surveillance teams to avoid widespread community transmission and also break the chain of transmission, if found,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently told the Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under Ministry of Science and Technology, has announced partnership with the Norway-based Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) to fund development of vaccines for COVID-19.
However, as there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it, concerted efforts should be initiated by the governments across the globe to arrest the ever-increasing magnitude of this outbreak before it becomes a “pandemic”.