COVID 19 DECLARED PANDEMIC
What’s in news?
The coronavirus sweeping across the world is a pandemic, the World Health Organization declared.
- WHO noted with concern that 1,18,000 positive cases have been reported globally in 114 countries and more than 90% of cases are in just four countries.
- 81 countries had not reported any cases and 57 countries had reported 10 cases or less.
- The last time the WHO declared a pandemic was during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, which infected nearly a quarter of the world’s population.
- However, that decision was criticized for creating unnecessary panic.
- SARS was not considered a pandemic, despite affecting people in 26 countries, and neither was MERS.
- According to the WHO, a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a pandemic as “an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.”
- The same body defines an epidemic as “an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.”
- Thus, the ‘pandemic’ status has to do more with the spread of the disease, than its severity.
- Pandemic comes from the Greek ‘pandemos’, which means ‘everybody’.
- So ‘pandemos’ is a concept where there’s a belief that the whole world’s population will likely be exposed to this infection and potentially a proportion of them will fall sick.
Preventive Measures by India:
- The Indian government has issued a new travel advisory stating that all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, U.N./International Organisations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April, beginning from 13th March.
- Visa-free travel facility granted to OCI cardholders is also suspended for the same duration.
- Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission.
- All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15th Feb shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.
- International traffic through land borders will be restricted as well.
- The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued an advisory to take all necessary steps in public transport vehicles to ensure sanitation of seats, handles and bars.
- India will send a team of doctors to Italy for testing its nationals for coronavirus to bring them back, while samples of 529 more people have been brought from Iran.
- The Union Home Ministry has transferred some of its power to the Union Health Ministry for tackling the COVID-19 if the outbreak turns out to be a disaster of national proportions.
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