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Suggestions for Covid-19 and Lockdown Exit

  • 03 Apr 2020
  • 6 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Prime Minister of India has held a video conference with the Chief Ministers of the States on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • He emphasised on the importance of formulating a common exit strategy to ensure a steady re-emergence of the population after the lockdown is over.

Key Suggestions

  • Seamless supply lines for medical equipment and drugs and raw materials.
  • Coordinated and prioritised testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine among and in all states.
  • Appointment of district-level disease surveillance officers for optimum penetration of the combating strategy.
  • Ensuring that there are separate hospitals for Covid-19 patients and proper protection to the doctors attending the patients.
  • Speedy online training of doctors in the treatment of Covid-19.
  • Going beyond the route of Agricultural Produce Marketing Corporations (APMC) for the procurement of this season’s harvest. Starting a truck pooling scheme for ferrying produce to the market.
  • Using the amount from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to fight COVID-19. The Centre will release ₹11,000 crore from the SDRF by the end of April.
  • Rapid disbursement of grants under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana.
  • Recruitment of volunteers from the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and the National Service Scheme (NSS) in the effort to combat the crisis.
  • Coordination between NGOs and crisis management groups and sharing of strategies.
  • Promotion and use of traditional immunity boosting methods mentioned in Ayurveda to minimise the number of people with weak immunity. The Ministry of AYUSH has also issued an advisory regarding this.

Scientists on Lockdown

  • Lockdown is only a temporary solution and this period should be used to prepare the healthcare system to avoid its social costs and to realise long-term epidemiological benefits.
  • The government needs to reveal a post-lockdown plan that will ensure that the rate of new infections is kept low in a sustainable manner after the lockdown ends.
    • Social distancing and better hygiene are helpful yet insufficient measures by themselves.
  • If the lockdown period will not be used responsibly, it might lead to a possible bounce-back effect.
    • The current restricted testing-policy creates the risk that a large number of mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic cases will remain undetected even at the end of the lockdown period.
    • These cases could easily serve as the nucleus for the epidemic to bounce back.
  • The problem of reverse migration (from cities to sub-urban/rural areas) has also been highlighted. The exodus triggered by the lockdown will rapidly spread the virus to all parts of the country.
    • This can lead to both an epidemiological and a humanitarian crisis.
  • Instead of stopping the reverse migration, the forces should be used to stock up food-grains, ensure fast cash transfers for the food-security and welfare of workers.
  • Scientists have offered their complete support to the people and possible expertise in combating this disease and in ensuring that the country emerges from this difficult period with as little loss of life as possible.

New Developments

  • Alternative Sealant
    • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape which is critical in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
    • The alternative sealant is based on the sealant used in submarine applications.
    • DRDO can mass produce this glue through the industry to support the seam sealing activity by suit manufacturers.
  • Bio Suit
    • DRDO has also developed a bio suit to keep medical and other personnel safe from the virus.
    • Scientists developed it with the help of the industry at various DRDO laboratories by applying the technical know-how and expertise in textile, coating and nanotechnology.
    • It has been subjected to rigorous testing for textile parameters as well as protection against synthetic blood.
    • The production of bio-suits was hampered due to the non-availability of seam sealing tapes but the development of the alternative sealant will boost its production now.
  • Handheld InfraRed Temperature Sensor
    • Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, has designed and developed its own handheld InfraRed (IR) based temperature sensor for screening people at its entry gates.
    • The instrument has been manufactured through in-house resources at a cost of under ₹1000, a fraction of the cost of the temperature guns in the market.

Source: TH

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