A crucial week in battle against COVID-19, say experts

A medical team screening a truck driver coming into Bengaluru with essential commodities at the Attibele check-post on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border on Tuesday.

A medical team screening a truck driver coming into Bengaluru with essential commodities at the Attibele check-post on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The next one week will be crucial in the battle against COVID-19 and the State is gearing up to contain the spread of the disease.

Although Karnataka has been recording cases without any foreign travel or contact history, and spread in clusters is a cause for concern, more than 90% of the infected are those who either travelled or were in contact with someone who did. It has been a week since the Centre stopped the entry of international flights into India. If anyone who entered Karnataka on March 23 has developed symptoms in the past one week, it means he or she contracted the infection before March 23, said experts. “While the mean number of days for manifestation of symptoms after contracting the infection is five to seven days, the incubation period of the virus is 14 days. We have already finished one week, so the next one week to 10 days are crucial,” said V. Ravi, senior professor and head of neurovirology at NIMHANS.

While the government is taking measures to flatten the curve of cases, it is important for people to strictly follow the lockdown norms and maintain social distancing. “If the cases do not peak in the next 10 days, then we can say the lockdown has been effective,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

C.N. Manjunath, director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Chest Diseases, who is part of the State’s COVID-19 task force, said that in severely affected countries such as China, Italy, Spain and the United States, there was a surge between the third and fourth weeks of the outbreak.

“Now, as the infection is also spreading in clusters, the focus should be on preventing this case to cluster transmission. The onus is on people to strictly follow the lockdown conditions. This is the only way to stop the spread,” he said.

K.K. Aggarwal, former national president of Indian Medical Association (IMA), said it was important for COVID-19 patients to continue to remain in quarantine even after the disappearance of symptoms.

Quoting a study published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, he said the study showed that patients treated for mild infections did not shed the virus even after the symptoms disappeared. “They continued to be contagious for up to eight days after the symptoms disappeared,” he said.

Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education), said the department has strengthened contact tracing and is working in coordination with other States.“We have circulated a list of passengers from Karnataka who could have travelled to neighbouring States and have procured a list of their passengers who could have come to Karnataka. All international passengers have been quarantined and fever clinics have been set up for preliminary screening,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:30:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/a-crucial-week-in-battle-against-covid-19-say-experts/article31221914.ece

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