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Written by Vidya Iyengar

Source: newindianexpress.com

BENGALURU:  There’s panic in the air with COVID-19 cases rising sharply by the day. The fear factor about the lurking virus during lockdown 1.0 has only enhanced during post 1.0. Authorities and health experts say it’s high time each person follows safety measures with the seriousness that a pandemic calls for.  Everyone must make efforts to stay at home as much as possible, says Dr Swati Rajagopal, consultant - Infectious Disease & Travel Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital, who also suggests avoiding going out frequently for even grocery shopping.

“People need to step out of homes only in case of an emergency. Soon after coming home, change clothes, wash them and take a shower,” says Rajagopal. The importance of wearing a mask properly when stepping out cannot be emphasised enough, say experts. Although discomfort is often cited as a reason for wearing one on the chin, Rajagopal insists that both the nose and mouth should be covered well. While the government is conducting drives, imposing fines on those found not wearing masks, and sealing down shops for not conforming to social distancing directions, many are still seen not following them. Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao took to social media on Sunday to warn shops, malls, banks, hotels, offices and establishments of severe consequences if the mask rule is not adhered to. 

“If you do not implement mask wearing and ensure safe distance, City Police will raid and initiate legal action. This has already started, and it’s in public interest (SIC),” he posted, adding that DCPs and BBMP are on streets to enforce wearing of mask and social distancing. “Warnings now, criminal cases will follow.[We] urge every Bengalurean to follow mask enforcement and social distancing. If people argue call 100, we are ready to respond to your calls.

Don’t bother about the high and mighty factor, whosoever it is, just tell people around you to wear mask and not hang it around their neck,” Rao said. Right now with the increase in cases, Randeep D, BBMP Special Commissioner, Solid Waste Management and In-charge of Public Health, cautions people to stay indoors, avoid any sort of social gathering and be careful. “From BBMP’s end, we have started strict enforcement where we are coordinating with police to ensure people wear masks. We have a proper tracking system, right from the head office to hospitals, and even after patients are discharged to check on them,” he says.   

Dr Aravinda GM, consultant physician, internal medicine, says people with any sort of symptoms of mild respiratory illness should consult a doctor and avoid over-the-counter medication. “Digital consults should be used to a larger extent in order to avoid unnecessary rush. While people in general should follow the etiquette of avoiding visiting crowded places, vulnerable members like senior citizens and pregnant women should take additional precautions and avoid stepping out unless required,” he says. Immunity is key, and those with a strong immune system are capable of fighting the disease and recovering from it. “We should work on our body immunity by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Every step we take now counts for our future,” says Rajagopal. 

Roger Binny, President, Karnataka State Cricket Association

With the current spike in number of cases, we have to be more responsible than earlier. We must follow the protocols set in place by the government and health officials. I don’t think we are following safety precautions such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and washing hands as strictly as required. This is the biggest problem. If we follow these measures, we will be helping the cause of defeating the virus in a big manner. Having less movement on the road and fewer people gathering together is also going to help. Working from home is also a great idea, and at least 30-60 per cent of the people should be allowed to do this. Rest assured, we will overcome this.

Chanakya Vyas Theatre personality 

As we prepare to live with what is being considered as the new normal after this crisis, it is even more important that we follow the basic guidelines and protocol, whether it’s wearing masks while stepping out or maintaining social distancing. This is not only for yourselves but also for the benefit of others. At the same time, people should rely on scientific data to get information and have a better understanding of facts. We should also be cautious about what we share on social media or WhatsApp because that can even trigger panic among people. These are testing times and we need to come out of this together. That’s how we would be able to return to the normal soon.

Shraddha Srinath, Actor

People need to realise that the more we step out, more are the chances of contracting infections and therefore higher are the chances of this pandemic not coming to an end anytime soon. If people want things to get back to normal then they need make the small sacrifice of staying at home and stepping out only if necessary. Also, one needs to realise that we have a responsibility towards people at home and the society. Many companies expect their employees to come to work. I feel that if it could be executed from home then you absolutely must opt for work from home. It’s easy for companies to pass the order of coming to office but if one of the employees gets infected, then who is going to take their responsibility, and also what about the safety of people at their home? We need to stay home, and as of now, everything can wait. 

Chetan Kumar, Actor and activist

While people are well aware of the basic safety precautions -- social distancing, usage of masks and washing hands – what’s also important is to stay outdoors in terms of distancing rather than staying indoors. It’s better to sit outside one’s house when there is a meeting because the spread of the virus is limited given that more distance can be maintained. We also really need more testing. I read that testing has increased from 4,000 to 7,500 a day. We require more allocations in terms of beds and prevention mechanisms, and not for building statues. A long term restructuring of the entire health system in the country is required to make it more accessible to everybody and not just for the rich and the powerful.
The precautions we currently practise were also followed during the plague in Italy in the 14th century. We have to be resilient, we have to be vigilant. We will come out of it but cuurently, it’s important that everybody maintains these safety precautions.

Check list

  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • Avoid any kind of physical contact like handshakes or hugs, and maintain at least 3-feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
  •  Be careful about hygiene while using public toilets
  •  As soon as you come home, change your clothes, wash them, and take a shower 
  •  If you need to visit the hospital, take a prior appointment so that you can avoid the crowd and prevent overcrowding 
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