IMA appeals to nation, not to panic Corona outbreak, strives to fight together

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In view of the growing discord among people regarding the novel corona virus, the Indian Medical Association has released a press statement urging the people to not panic over the outbreak.

So far in India, 59 cases of corona virus have been reported out of which 16 have been confirmed today. The virus which known to have first affected in Wuhan city in China causes the disease COVID-19 as named by the WHO. According to WHO the most serious of the infections can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Amidst the growing panic and discord, amplified by misinformation, the IMA appealed the people not to panic over the epidemic, assuring that epidemics of such scale have been experienced and controlled earlier. 

The Public Health measures as listed by IMA are self awareness, self precautions, contact tracing and self isolation. "Hand washing has emerged as the simple tool to fight the community spread. Easy and universal, the practice of thorough hand washing with soap and water is perhaps the only way to stop the corona epidemic."

It said that symptomless common people do not need masks and they're need by healthcare workers and people with symptoms and possiblity of droplet infection need to wear masks.

Also it appealed to the Government to "classify the data of the epidemic and take appropriate action with clinical precision. Sharing of data on daily basis with the public who are clueless as to what is expected out of them, has created the panic across the country." 

Regarding doctors it said that doctors and healthcare personnel have responded responsibly and diligently, and hospitals are open and functioning. Doctors and hospitals who "remain a silver lining in otherwise clueless situation for the common man", are appealed to keep providing credible information around them and create "confidence and trust". It acknowledged that public health systems in various states have faced the pressure and need to stay alert.
Affirming the reason for global panic to be the "high handed top down response" by China," it said that the "nuanced and balanced approach" of Indian Government is more suited to our country. The main public function that could make a difference according to the IMA is contact tracing.

The statement calls out press and visual media to bring down the panic by employing restraint and objectivity. Also, it says that the Central Government has enough resources to stop disinformation and use the social media responsibly.
It lists the following measures to be followed:

  1. Self Hygiene: Washing hands with soap and water as regular as seem needed.
  2.  Self restraint: Not posting unconfirmed negative messages and pseudoscientific dogmas. 
  3. Self isolation: It has been the survival strategy in times of previous epidemic. Those who are having the symptoms of fever and cough should remain at home.

The association has updated doctors in all its branches across the country and is preparing for a 24X7 helpline for the public in Hindi and English, the details of which shall be issued in public domain within a short time. A National Workshop (both live and in web ) is being organised by the IMA on Saturday 14.03.2020 at IMA Hqs, New Delhi for its members. 

Looking forward to redeem the nation and its people, the top medical association also requested the Government to make use of this opportunity and track cases of Tuberculosis, while also including hand hygiene in Swachh Bharat programme. 

The panic regarding the outbreak must be curbed for proper handling of the situation, and for this it is necessary that everyone should act judiciously and stop the spread of misinformation.

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