New Delhi,The Indian Medical Association (IMA) will be organising a workshop for its members on awareness about the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in the national capital on Saturday.
The association has also appealed to the Centre to take COVID-19 as an opportunity to track cases of tuberculosis as well and include hand hygiene in the Swachh Bharat programme.
IMA national president Rajan Sharma told IANS that the nation should not panic over the coronavirus outbreak, adding that the country has faced such a situation earlier and successfully combated it.
Speaking to IANS Sharma said, “We appeal to the nation to stop the panic reactions on corona epidemic. This epidemic is by no means a situation which has not been faced earlier. SARS 1, Swine flu, Nipah, etc were on the same scale and considerable experience tells us that awareness, self precautions, contact tracing and self isolation are the public health measures required. Hand washing has emerged as the simple tool to fight the community spread.”
He said that easy and universal, the practice of thorough hand washing with soap and water is perhaps the only way to stop the corona epidemic.
India has reported 50 cases of COVID-19 so far. People rushed to buy hand sanitisers and masks after COVID-19 cases were confirmed in India. Hoarding of these products was also reported at various places, along with unregulated price rise.
On using face masks, Sharma suggested that “Masks for symptomless common people is not warranted. Healthcare workers and people with symptoms and possibility of droplet infection need to wear masks.”
According to the IMA, the high handed top down response in China is a part of the reason for this global panic. Hailing the Indian government”s efforts to contain the disease, R.V. Asokan, Secretary General, IMA, said, “The nuanced and balanced approach of the Indian government is certainly better suited to handle the crisis in a country of 1.3 billion people. The public health systems in various states have withstood the pressure and have to remain alert. Contact tracing is the key public health function that will make a difference.”
Asokan said : “Doctors and health care personnel have responded with diligence and responsibility. I appeal to every doctor to function as a source of credible information in their locality and instil confidence and trust amongst common people. Let us work together as a nation to redeem our people.-Outlook India