In what could be an utterly unfortunate timing and the biggest blow if the Covid -19 pandemic was to resurface, much like a movie villain, it has a habit of making a comeback from the brink.
Last summer, people and governments quickly assumed that the coronavirus had been squashed, only for the second wave in autumn to swallow much of Europe and North America.
And the fact is that according to recent reports coming in from the major parts of the globe – Japan, South Korea, Brazil, China and the U.S., there has been reported a significant rise in the number of Covid -19 cases.
What is worse is that the news comes in when the world is already at the cusp of recession and countries the world over are struggling with the falling economy.
Hence, the central government has taken this into account and, as a precautionary yet ready step, has instructed Union Territories and all states to fast-track the whole genome sequencing of positive samples to keep track of emerging variants.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to States and U.T.s, said such an exercise would enable timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country and will enable the undertaking of requisite public health measures.
Crematoriums, Hospitals’ packed’ as Covid cases rise in China.
Meanwhile, news coming in from China is rather tragic.
China is reportedly registering a tremendous surge in Covid-19 cases even as the Chinese government’s sudden decision last month to lift almost three years of lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing.
Eric Feigl-Dinh, a scientist at Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health, has pointed out rather alarming events unfolding in China.
The Alarming Reality Of Covid-19 Spurt In China As On Dec 20, 2022
1. Eric Feigl-Ding gauges that more than 60 per cent of China and 10 per cent of Earth’s population are likely to be infected over the next 90 days, with deaths possible in the millions.
2. Crematoriums in China are straining to deal with an inrush of bodies as the country battles a wave of Covid cases that Chinese authorities have admitted is impossible to track, news agency AFP reported. One crematorium told AFP they had run out of space to keep bodies.
3. Chongqing, which is a city of 30 million people, this week the authorities urged people with “mild” Covid symptoms to go to work.
4. Chinese authorities have stated that only those Covid-19 deaths that have resulted from “respiratory failures” will not be included in the official death toll.
Meanwhile, Beijing has been hit by the BF.7 variant of the Omicron strain and has announced five more deaths in addition to the two on Monday. These are the first official fatalities since the government abandoned its stringent anti-virus controls.
However, this clarification follows media reports that many more died after becoming infected amid rising demand at funeral homes and crematoriums, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
6. According to one estimate, over 70 per cent of Beijing’s population has been hit by the virus, which confined millions of people to their homes.
7. Anhui Biochem Pharmaceutical’s self-developed Covid-19 treatment medicine has passed the clinical trial stages and professional reviews, and is awaiting regulatory approval to debut on the market, said a statement released on Tuesday by China’s eastern Hefei government in Anhui province.
8. The outbreak has expanded following the government’s decision to lift many strict restrictions, including quarantine and isolation protocols, that had primarily insulated China’s 1.4 billion people from the worst impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The World Caught In The Frenzy Of Covid -19
The world is worried and voicing the same is the U.S. expressing concerns that China’s uncontrollable Covid- 19 outbreak might spawn new virus mutations.
In a press statement, China’s U.S. embassy spokesman, Liu Pengyu, said China has adopted “scientific and precise prevention and control measures” to minimise the virus’s impact on China’s population and economy.
India, with its focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, has been able to restrict the transmission of the coronavirus and has around 1,200 cases every week.
Whereas the public health challenge of COVID-19 persists worldwide, with around 35 lakh cases reported weekly.
In a letter, the Health Ministry referred to the operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy in the context of COVID-19 issued by the Ministry in June this year.
It signals early detection, isolation, testing, and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Therefore, monitoring the trends of existing variants becomes crucial because of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, China and Brazil.
It becomes essential to gear up the whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network,” according to the Health Ministry.
“In this context, all States are requested to ensure that as far as possible samples of all positive cases, on a daily basis, are sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Laboratories that are mapped to States and U.T.s,” he added.
Hence, the Health Ministry has directed all states and Union territories to ramp up the whole genome sequencing of positive samples to keep track of newer variants.
Maharashtra Logs 20 New Covid-19 Cases, Zero Fatality; Active Tally At 132
Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Tuesday reported 20 new cases of coronavirus that, raised the tally of infections to 81,36,368, according to an official from the state health department.`
On Monday, Maharashtra reported nine new cases and a single fatality.
Mumbai logged the highest number of seven COVID-19 cases, followed by six reported from Pune circle, two each from Nagpur, Latur and Akola circles, and one from Aurangabad circle.
Maharashtra currently has 132 active cases, of which Pune has the highest number of 48 patients, followed by 36 and nine patients in Mumbai and Thane districts, respectively.
Conclusion: The spurt in Covid-19 cases and the chances of a full-fledged pandemic is a worrying state of affairs. The pandemic has already played havoc in our lives, affecting millions across the globe, with countless deaths and putting the economy of all countries in a downward spiral.
While we may have been able to take the shock of it all in the recent past, how it may affect us and if we will be able to withstand the shock of another one looming over our heads can only be countered with a precautionary approach and a well thought out strategy to outrun and outdo the pandemic if it hits us at all.