India did not take swine flu seriously when it first broke out in Mexico. It ought to have taken adequate preventive measures by enlisting the services of experienced doctors in government hospitals and building up a good stock of medicines. It should have undertaken large-scale campaigns in rural and urban areas on preventive measures. We find that in most cases of swine flu, a lot of time is wasted on diagnosis. Doctors seem to be following the trial and error method, leading to a loss of precious time.
One still fails to understand why the government did not take enough precautions when Mexico was hit by swine flu. People kept travelling abroad and this was enough for the government to act. By the time it started screening people at international arrival terminals, the flu had already entered the country, starting from Pune. The lack of testing laboratories has caused frustration among many who have been living in constant fear since the first death was reported. The government should act fast to control the situation. It is important to issue travel advisories to people and keep the airports, railway stations and bus stands clean. It would be ideal if screening facilities were provided at these locations.
Overcrowded areas are highly susceptible to the spread of swine flu. But the government has not found it necessary to reduce the crowd in trains and buses which are overflowing with people. The government and the private sector should run extra buses and railway coaches for people’s benefit — at least till swine flu is contained.
U. Javid Latif,
It is shocking to read that the prices of N95 face masks have gone up steeply because of the increase in demand. The government should provide face masks at subsidised rates and, if possible, distribute them free of cost, at least for some time. The Mexican army distributed six million face masks to civilians to safeguard themselves against swine flu. The black marketing of the original, three-layered N95 masks and others should be checked.
Foreign travellers should be asked to cancel their travel plans to avoid the spread of swine flu. All cities should have centres to diagnose and treat the disease. Awareness should be spread through every possible means.
The outbreak of swine flu is unnecessarily being hyped. It is nothing but seasonal flu which can be cured within 5 days. The media should not highlight the cases as it leads to panic and fear among the people who start thinking it is fatal.