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Prevention paramount

Prevention paramount

As the Prime Minister urged citizens to not venture out unless absolutely necessary, a public call for home quarantine as of now appears to be the best defence against the Covid-19 pandemic. People have been assured of regular supply of essential items by the Prime Minister in the wake of public panic that was evident in grocery stores with people hoarding items anticipating long homestays. Call for social distancing and people's curfew in a sense is to also assess citizens' response to a public health emergency. With reports of those suggested home quarantines roaming in streets, individual resolve to combat the virus requires assessment. It is not like the government cannot implement stern measures. With the toll of those infected rising every day, and given India's staggering population and population density, the fear of a catastrophic outcome sends chills down the spine. We cannot afford to have the infection spread in the society as it has in Italy, Iran or China. It would be disastrous beyond imagination. As it is there are concerns over India's low testing spree which has only seen those tested who have travel history and symptoms both or those who have been identified as in contact with those who have tested positive. Such limited testing, experts have cited, may have masked the real figure of those infected. Even so, India has not recorded a single instance of community transmission. It is for this reason that social distancing has been recommended and not enforced. People in other countries have been asked to not leave home and those who do will be severely punished. At this stage when the race for developing a vaccine heats up, prevention remains the best bet for India. We do not know if the vaccine will be ready in time or if there will be one at all. However, we know that safe practices will ensure that the virus never spreads further than few hundreds. Just as this remains a test for us to realise if India can handle such epidemics, the situation will also serve as a grim reminder to the authorities about the upgrades that India's medical infrastructure desperately needs.

(Image from indiatoday.in)

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