The novel Corona virus scare is real.
Medical shops have run out of face masks and even hand sanitizers if reports are to be believed. There are numerous videos on this pandemic doing the rounds on social media-some fake, others authentic and still others hyping it up or just sharing information.
Meanwhile, Bhutan needs to be prepared as well. The health authorities have assured us not to panic and take the necessary precautions like washing hands constantly, cooking meat and eggs well and reporting signs and symptoms of flu.
They have also told us that fever screening systems and gun thermometers have been installed at points of entry like the Paro International Airport. “We have contingency plans,” they are saying. While we cannot be too sure about defending ourselves against the virus, it would bode well for us to be prepared and vigilant just in case.
Latest WHO figures state there are more than 7,800 confirmed cases globally, with 7,736 confirmed in China, and a further 12,167 suspected cases inside the country where the outbreak began in Wuhan, a city of around 11 million which remains in lockdown.
Outside China, there are 82 confirmed cases, in 18 different countries, and only seven had no history of travel in China. WHO has already declared the corona virus a global health emergency.
If it could spread to all these countries where technology is advanced and medical facilities too, Bhutan should as well beef up surveillance and security measures to prevent the disease from entering the country or at least tackle it as soon as it does, worst come worst.
A small, close-knit community like Bhutan would be ideal habitat for the virus to spread its deadly sting. The virus becomes dangerous if it is inhaled and incubated in the lungs forming multiple copies. Then, it causes respiratory problems and pneumonia like MERS and SARS. And at times, death.
That is why we have been advised not to touch our nose and mouth too often or to keep our hands clean. Taking these simple tips seriously can go a long way in fighting a potential epidemic in Bhutan.
There is no known treatment for the virus though according to news reports, scientists across the globe are trying to find a solution to this problem.
Meanwhile, Bhutanese are also advised not to travel to places which have a history of corona virus and to report to health authorities if they show signs of respiratory problems like the flu, shortness of breath and fever.
It is worthwhile to mention that the public must not panic. And that the rural areas in the country also need to be advocated on corona virus. We all are in this together and should unite forces and facilities to be prepared.