NEW DELHI :
The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues unabated across the globe with total number of people infected with the virus crossed one lakh on Friday. At least 100,645 people were recorded to have a confirmed COVID-19 infection and over 3411 have died of the the coronavirus disease as on Friday, according to the Johs Hopkins university’s live tracker of the disease.
Though most of the cases and deaths are in China, the world reels under the threat of the deadly virus with over 91 countries reporting cases and deaths.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised a concern over the evolving situation.
“Although we continue to see the majority of cases in a handful of countries, we are deeply concerned about the increasing number of countries reporting cases, especially those with weaker health systems. However, this epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO.
The WHO also launched a new social media campaign on Thursday called Be Ready for COVID-19, which urges people to be safe, smart and informed.
“There are a lot of misinformation circulating on social media. The only
Credible source of information is from the government," said Randeep Guleria, director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
India also has reported over 31 cases and several suspected patients are in close monitoring of the government health authorities.
As per WHO guidelines, Government of India has initiated a number of critical measures and build up necessary reserves based on planned contingencies for critical medical supplies and reduce cascading effect of coronavirus impact on human lives. These include potential response scenarios for containing travel related cases reported within India, local transmission of COVID-19 , large outbreaks and the disaster response scenario of an endemic. Some of the steps include Inter-ministerial coordination, Early Detection through Points of Entries Screening, Community Surveillance through Integrated Disease Surveillance Program, Early Diagnosis, Buffer Stock and Risk communication for creating awareness among public to follow preventive public health measures.
For containment of the virus, government is also planning to loop in the private sector.
“Though coronavirus is more infectious than the regular flu it seems less fatal than some of the other epidemics we have faced," said H Sudarshan Ballal, President, NATHEALTH, healthcare federation of India, a healthcare industry body.
According to industry experts, amidst the COVID-19 scare and its impact on the health and pharmaceutical industry, there has been an increase in MRP from vendors by as much as 100% on certain items due to overwhelming demands and pressure on manufacturing. The majority (90%) of demand is for N95 masks.
The sales have increased to 30000 face masks per day from 1000 masks per day, since the outbreak.
"In view of the current situation worldwide, we have witnessed 10 times and more of growth in demand for face masks, particulate respiratory masks, protective suits, sterile surgical gloves, safety goggles, etc to curb the spread of Coronavirus," said Vivek Tiwari, Founder, and CEO, Medikabazaar, B2B online platform for medical supplies and equipment.
“In the last few weeks, we have received multiple queries from China, Japan, Singapore, and even India and other countries and we have increased our procurement of masks and other items many folds to meet the demand," he said.
Medikabazaar has sold half a million masks during last month in the domestic market.