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RSTV – THE BIG PICTURE ANALYSIS
Pandemic and Public Health system
The Topic covers GS paper 2[Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.]
India currently has over 140 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The government has been quick to adopt a multipronged strategy, including issuance of clear guidelines to ministries for coordinated action, imposition of travel restrictions, suspension of visas, large-scale screening and contact tracing as well as regular dissemination of information to the public.
What is the background?
Mounting a swift response involving all stakeholders in a country of India’s scale and diversity is undoubtedly commendable.
With these measures in place we can be confident that India will be able to successfully limit the spread of the disease.
Meanwhile in Italy, the number of coronavirus cases and deaths continue to surge.
What is the ground scenario?
Doctors and nurses are under increasing pressure and are calling out for help while medical supplies run out rapidly.
In the US, dozens of health-care workers have fallen ill with covid-19, and more are quarantined after exposure to the virus, an expected but worrisome development as the U.S. health system braces for a surge in infections.
The need of the hour is to build a resilient public health system that can prevent diseases, promote good health and respond quickly to minimise loss of life when faced with an outbreak of this magnitude.
What is the response by the Prime Minister?
Modi called upon a G20 virtual conference to discuss methods to combat COVID-19 and safeguard the global economy.
On 19 March, Modi asked all citizens to observe 'Janata Curfew' (people's curfew) from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday, 22 March.
The formation of the COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force was announced during the live address to the nation.
Modi on 20 March 2020 interacted with the Chief Ministers of various states via video conferencing to discuss measures to combat COVID-19 and the state’s preparations to prevent further cases.
What are the preventive measures taken?
The Government of India issued a travel advisory to its citizens, particularly for Wuhan, where about 500 Indian medical students study.
It directed seven major international airports to perform thermal screening of passengers arriving from China.
The Ministry of Textiles has been assigned the task of making sure the availability of protective and medical materials.
The Department of Pharmaceuticals is tasked with making sure of the availability of essential medicines.
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has been asked to ensure availability of essentials.
Despite evidence to the contrary, a viral rumour spread online alleging that only people who eat meat were affected by coronavirus, causing "#NoMeat_NoCoronaVirus" to trend on Twitter.
To curb these rumours and combat declining sales, some poultry industry associations held a "Chicken and Egg Mela" in Hyderabad.
Several Telangana state ministers were in attendance and ate some of the free eggs and fried chicken being distributed at the event to show their support for the industry.