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COVID19

Is lockdown an effective measure for combating COVID19 pandemic?

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lockdown effective for combating COVID19

Aina Bhat

Naveed Hamid

Infectious diseases have periodically posed a threat to human societies. A pandemic is a worst-case scenario in the world of infectious diseases. The latest in the sequence of pandemics was caused by the coronavirus family. Coronaviruses are single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses with pleomorphic genomes. The “novel” coronavirus is a modern strain that has never been seen in humans. The name comes from the crown-like appearance created by the club-shaped projections that adorn the viral envelope. The first pandemic of the twenty-first century was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002, followed by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (SARS-CoV). The planet is now facing another pandemic known as Coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. On December 8, 2019, the first cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since there are no specific treatments or vaccines, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) at the individual and collective levels are the only acts capable of containing the epidemic and reducing its effects on population health.

In December 2019, cases of a disease similar to pneumonia started to appear in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The cases that emerged were caused by a previously unknown form of coronavirus. Since it emerged in 2019, this strain of the virus was dubbed Coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19. The Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China, is believed to be the source of this virus. It was later discovered that the virus, which is transmitted from animal to human, can also be transmitted from human to human.

Although the molecular mechanism of the COVID-19 transmission pathway from human to human is still unknown, the general theory of respiratory disease transmission is similar. Droplet spreading spreads respiratory diseases. In this sort of spread, a sick person exposes people around him to the microbe by coughing or sneezing. In other words, environmental conditions play a significant role in the spread of this virus.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading at a rapid pace with cases more than 16 crore worldwide and 2.33 crores in India. COVID19 restrictions are in place in almost every aspect of life. Following hygiene laws is the most basic step to reduce the spread of coronavirus or to avoid infection. The most critical of these is hand washing. As a result, the transmission of this virus is slower in communities where people wash their hands and follow general hygiene laws. Official organisations have a high degree of involvement in the “stay at home” call. Scientists warn that the COVID-19 virus will easily spread to any age group.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases was registered by approximately 220 countries. Countries have implemented stringent measures such as school vacation, working from home, quarantine for areas with a large number of outbreaks, and, most notably, lockdown to slow the COVID 19 outbreak. The days of lockdown vary by country. Countries determined when the lockout began and ended based on the COVID-19 impact on their people. Since COVID-19 continues to have a strong impact on the public, several countries have prolonged the lockdown for several days. Countries are affected by the lockdown in both environmental and economic terms (Chakraborty and Maity, 2020). The lockdown has laid the groundwork for environmental regeneration, especially with the closure of factories and the reduction of both private and public transportation vehicles used. With the lockdown implemented during the pandemic process, COVID-19 improved air quality in many parts of the world. Economic operations have ceased to reduce carbon emissions as a result of the lockdown.

Lockdown as a most impactful initiative for spreading of Covid-19

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in December 2019, the lockdown has been described as the only successful global measure to halt the spread of this pandemic in the population. India enforced a full shutdown across the country as lockdown I on March 25, 2020, and then extended it by providing timely partial relaxations in the form of lockdown II, III, and IV.

COVID-19 cases and deaths are growing on a regular basis due to its ability to spread by sneezing, cough droplets, and touching. Since this virus enters the body via the mouth, nose, and eyes, it has resulted in a worldwide lockdown, quarantine, and certain restrictions. To prevent this pandemic, governments imposed a slew of social restrictions. The limitation of lockdown was at the forefront of these steps. According to statistics, the lockdown plays an important role in stopping COVID-19.

Lockdown Impact

Upon analysing numerous secondary data-based studies, the findings revealed that the lockdown was successful in lowering incidence and mortality rates in the majority of countries. As a result, it was used as a tactic to halt the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. The efficacy of lockdown increased gradually in scenarios that took into account time lags between intervention initiation and the onset of the effect, as predicted by the dynamics of the infection itself. Since the COVID-19 epidemic has an exponential growth pattern, the success of reducing incidence is influenced by the time of the epidemic when social distancing measures are put in place.

As per various studies, strict social distancing measures represent an effective way to slow the progression of COVID-19 epidemics. However, these measures have a great economic, psychological and social impact.

  1. Psychological effect

It has been shown that lockdown is linked to human psychology. Stress (8.0 percent) and depression (16.0–28.0 percent) were identified as psychological reactions during the COVID-19 pandemic. These psychological symptoms were observed in only a few of the affected countries and do not represent the experiences of people living in other parts of the world. As a result, it is apparent that having reported cases and mortality rates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has an effect on mental health issues.

  1. Environmental effects

Researches have been conducted to investigate the environmental impact of the Covid-19 lockdown. It has been observed that the world has begun to renew itself as a result of all types of manufacturing, vehicle movement, and people’s social activities remaining at a low level for a long time. Lockdown restrictions, in particular, have been shown to improve air and water quality.

  1. Economic effects

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has had a major economic effect in India. India’s growth rate in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020 fell to 3.1 percent (Ministry of Statistics). According to the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, this decline is primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the Indian economy. Notably, India had been experiencing a pre-pandemic slowdown, and the pandemic has “magnified pre-existing threats to India’s economic outlook,” according to the World Bank.

The World Bank and rating agencies initially revised India’s growth for FY2021 to the lowest levels seen in three decades, dating back to the 1990s when India’s economy was liberalised. CRISIL declared on May 26 that this could be India’s worst recession since independence. According to State Bank of India research, the GDP contracted by more than 40% in Q1. The Ministry of Statistics published GDP figures for Q1 (April to June) FY21 on September 1, 2020, showing a contraction of 24% compared to the same timeframe the previous year. Economic activity dropped from 82.9 on 22 March to 44.7 on 26 April, according to the Nomura India Business Resumption Index.

Conclusion

The Covid-19 pandemic outbreak has had a global effect, with significant economic implications. One of the repercussions has been the implementation of unprecedented lockdown and restriction policies in a number of countries. Travel restrictions and the need to stay in our residential homes to reduce the spread of the virus are expected to significantly alter anthropogenic pollutant emissions, both in terms of released mass and time variations. This has been observed since the start of the lockdown, specifically through the study of data from air quality monitoring networks and satellites.

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COVID19

Covid19 reopening: A close watch needed

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Covid19 reopening

Jammu and Kashmir, like other parts of the country, continues to battle the Covid19 pandemic. Though the number of daily positive cases is not as alarming as it would be a few months earlier, yet there are some indications of a slow rise in positive cases in the past few weeks. This situation clearly calls for very careful handling of the situation, especially in view of the apprehensions of a possible third wave hitting the country in the months of October and November.

In a welcome move, the Jammu and Kashmir administration recently ordered phased reopening of educational institutions, including colleges and higher-level schools. It was a long-pending demand of all stakeholders, in the larger interest of the student community, to allow children to return to their on-campus classes after a long hiatus. The move coincided with the phased reopening of businesses in the Union Territory to infuse a fresh lease of life into the otherwise ‘dismal’ economy that was badly hit in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic.

The post-pandemic situation calls for revival of economic activity to enable people associated with various trades to resume their businesses and earn a livelihood following a depressing scenario. There is a large section of the population directly dependent on daily earnings to make both ends meet.

There is no denying the fact that the post-pandemic situation calls for revival of economic activity to enable people associated with various trades to resume their businesses and earn a livelihood following a depressing scenario. There is a large section of the population directly dependent on daily earnings to make both ends meet.

It was therefore imperative upon the administration to take care of the interests of this section of the society. It is equally a fact that the resumption of academic activities across Jammu and Kashmir was the need of the hour to enable students to interact with their teachers and peers, re-socialise on the campuses and heave a sigh of relief. To this extent, the administration took certain welcome decisions. However, the fact that the pandemic is still not over can’t be overlooked in such a scenario. It is therefore important to watch the situation very closely for its better management and minimal disruptions in case of any eventuality like the third Covid19 wave.

The onus to ensure a close watch on the situation certainly lies on the officials concerned, especially the Deputy Commissioners of various districts. In the past two months, the number of daily positive cases largely ranges from 100 to 200. This is not alarming if a comparison of these figures is made with the figures of the previous few months. But the level of unpredictability is too high to be taken casually. On September 22, the UT recorded the highest single-day tally of 204 Covid positive cases—up from 145 cases recorded a day earlier. This is where the situation demands utmost caution. At the official level, it is important to keep a track of these figures to decide on further reopening. If the rate of positivity surges, it would be in the fitness of things to reconsider the further process of reopening and reimpose the curbs, wherever necessary. Alongside, it is imperative to ensure that mass gatherings are disallowed and people adhere to the Covid Appropriate Behavior (CAB) in letter and spirit. The administration also requires to watch the Covid scenario in other states of the country and handle the inflow of tourists and visitors to the UT accordingly in strict adherence to the SOPs. The situation just cannot be allowed to go out of control any longer. Sustained and focused attention on the situation can go a long way in facilitating its better management at all levels.

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COVID19

‘COVID-19 and We’: The new book on pandemic from Kashmir

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'COVID-19 and We'

‘COVID-19 and We’ is the first book from Kashmir about COVID19 by Maheena Zehra. The book is an anthology compiled along with 20 co-authors from different parts of the country.The book is a dedication through words to all the people who died because of the virus. The people who suffered during the pandemic. And the people who felt and even feel helpless and hopeless due to the pandemic. The book contains a series of articles, poems and paragraphs in English and Urdu language and, all the writings revolve around the different topics on the theme of COVID19.
For example, the book contains poems on hope and strength that we understand as the most important tool to fight any circumstance in life. The book contains articles structured on the map of the loss of lives due to the virus. The loss in business due to the lockdowns. Loss in education. Mental stress, retained by people of all ages and the psychological problems faced that seem to stay for a quite long time until the fight is initiated against the fear in the consciousness.

covid-19-and-we

Maheena Zehra

‘COVID-19 and We’ contains Nazms (Urdu poems) that are meant to make the human understand his hidden strengths and see the light that the heart produces itself to make the self shine beyond all the boundaries, miseries and calamities.
Lastly, the aim of this book is to give people an insightful and brief descriptive analysis of the lessons taught during the whole miserable period of the pandemic. We hope that you enjoy reading the book and, make prayers for the people who lost their lives due to the virus. Also, make prayers for a healthy, safe and beautiful future that is awaiting ahead of this terrible period.
The time is now to move on and to look at the future because the past memories are only going to drag us downwards. We hope that this book is worth the time of the readers.

 

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COVID19

Editorial | Covid19 third wave: Time to stay alert

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Covid19 third wave

Jammu and Kashmir is, fortunately, registering a low caseload of Covid19 cases for the last more than a month. And it is certainly a sign to cheer about. The second Covid19 wave not only wreaked havoc vis-à-vis loss of human lives, it also crippled the economy alongside stretching the healthcare sector to the fullest. And given the devastation it wrought on almost all facets of life, it would take a very long time to recuperate from that deleterious fallout.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the daily Covid19 caseload has remained in the range of 100 to 300 in the past month while the number of daily deaths reported due to the infection has also come down considerably in comparison to the horrific situation witnessed in the months of April, May and June. This points to the fact that the second wave may be ebbed much to the respite of people. However, it also, alongside, points to the pressing need to keep a close vigil on the impending third wave which many experts believe might hit the country by the end of this month or early next month. And this is the opportune time for everyone, especially people at the helm of delivering a public health response, to take lessons from the second wave only to ready themselves for the third wave and contain the same in its track well within time. All it requires is a determined effort, coupled with a sense of seriousness, to make it happen.

The authorities concerned must keep close track of the daily caseload across the country, especially the one related to the Delta variant of the Coronavirus, which is expected to be much more infectious, if not as lethal, than the previous variants. A close monitoring mechanism is required to be put in place with regard to incoming travellers to Jammu and Kashmir, especially from places where the resurgence of the virus is seen.

To begin with, the authorities concerned must keep close track of the daily caseload across the country, especially the one related to the Delta variant of the Coronavirus, which is expected to be much more infectious, if not as lethal, than the previous variants. A close monitoring mechanism is required to be put in place with regard to incoming travellers to Jammu and Kashmir, especially from places where the resurgence of the virus is seen. Previously, one of the flaws witnessed during the second wave was the free flow of incoming travellers to the Union Territory which led to a huge surge in cases. Alongside, all public gatherings have to be urgently limited in case of the Covid19 resurgence in the UT. Presently, public gatherings continue to remain restricted. However, many public gatherings continue to be held with the presence of a large number of people in violation of SOPs concerning Covid19. Such a phenomenon has to be curbed. And finally, the healthcare sector has to be continuously reviewed and monitored to ensure that all facilities in Covid-designated hospitals are put in place well in advance to meet the possible third wave requirements. Any laxity in this regard can cost dearly. The infrastructure in the hospitals—especially the supply of Oxygen and availability of Oxygen beds—has to be guaranteed to make the health facilities third wave-ready.

With regard to the reopening of educational institutions, the UT administration has thus far acted diligently. While it would be prudent to let online education continue to be imparted in view of the third wave concerns, any reopening of educational institutions in the month of August and September has to be strictly done in a phased manner, beginning with calling only fully vaccinated staff and students to schools, colleges and universities. It could only be problematic to allow the mass reopening of educational institutions.

While the government has to be proactive to stop the 3rd wave from making a dreadful impact in the UT, the public at large must fully cooperate by adhering to the Covid appropriate behaviour and following all Covid19 SOPs in their true spirit. Only a collective effort can stop the 3rd wave in its tracks.

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