बिहीबार, चैत २७ २०७६ | Thu, April 09, 2020
नेपालको समय: १०:३८ | UK Time: 05:53

COVID19: The Coronavirus

Pradip Karanjit
२०७६ फागुन २५ गते ११:२८

I am not a Virologist, certainly not a Chief Medical Officer of the Country and not a government official responsible for Health & Social Care. I, therefore, would neither want to pretend to be a subject matter expert on COVID19 nor presenting my credential to offer any advice. However, this very argument holds, when it comes to spreading fear and rumours too. 

Facts, COVID19 is rapidly spreading globally. It has so far travelled the world, infecting about 106,467 and so far, has claimed 3,600 lives. This number continues to rise, and we do not yet have a cure. So, it is right that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency in the back of many countries that are grappling with a rise in confirmed cases.

The term Public Health Emergency of International Concern is defined in the IHR (2005) as “an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations:

to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease, and 
to potentially require a coordinated international response”. The definition implies a situation that: is serious, unusual or unexpected; carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border and may require immediate international action.

This is expected, especially when there is steady rises of infections globally, and the real threat that this infection poses to global health, especially in places that lack adequate surveillance and infrastructure. Therefore, a well-coordinated approach would allow experts to gain a better understanding of how the virus is behaving and a concerted and increased international effort in the best way to achieve this before it is just too late.

Undoubtedly the declaration of global health emergency has unintended consequences such as several countries advising their citizens against travelling to countries such as China and spreading of fear on the severity of disease-causing greater anxiety and panic amongst general public globally. 

The pandemic and declaration of global health emergency have nothing to do with the severity of the disease, but this is as a direct result of its geographic spread. According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.

As result of this formal declaration, member states are required to work together in managing the outbreak, this will allow countries to release their resources and their findings. This is expected to offer a speedy coordinated approach in containing and managing the outbreak.

It’s a new illness, so there is indeed a lot we do not know about it but the governments around the world are making lots of preparation to help contain as much as possible. This does not mean that we stop going out or meeting up with people. Most of us with generally good health can and should keep doing what we normally do as long as we do not have any symptoms but maintain a good hygiene practice. As for 95% of the population, this will be a mild cold.

If you or someone you know has underlying health conditions or has a weekend immune system, you must seek professional advice and pay good attention to your health. 

Influenza, commonly known as “the flu” in other hand is much more serious global health threat that impacts all countries: every year, there are an estimated 1 billion cases, 3-5 million severe cases, and 290 000-650 000 influenza-related respiratory deaths worldwide. 

We do not panic buy; we do not stop our lives and we certainly do not spread fear every winter on “the flu”. Why start this now, when we need a coordinated approach in containing and finding a cure to COVID19. Therefore, in the word of Director-General of the World Health Organisation:

let’s not spread fear but act on facts
let’s not spread rumours but reason it
let’s come together in solidarity against but not stigmatised it

We should continue to be vigilant and listen to advice from Health Government Officials, so that we all collectively work towards minimising impact of COVID19. 

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