Shoppers wear masks at Delhi' Khan Market amidst coronavirus outbreak | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
Shoppers wear masks in Delhi's Khan Market amid coronavirus outbreak | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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(This copy was last updated on 7 April. The reported number of coronavirus cases is as per the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.)

New Delhi: India’s reported cases topped 4,700, with as many as 4,312 active novel coronavirus cases while the country remans in a lockdown, imposed to prevent a wide spread of the virus.

So far, 124 people have died, while 352 people have recovered since the first case was recorded in Kerala in January. One Covid-19 patient has been recorded as a migrated case, according to the Union health ministry.

While in a lockdown, citizens have been advised to continue actively exercising social distancing.

All commercial establishments have been closed, except for those providing essential services, such as grocery and medical stores, ATMs and petrol pumps.

India suspended all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment, project visas until April 15. International flights have been barred from landing in the country till the end of this week.

Here is a quick reckoner of the pandemic — from information about the virus to safety measures and FAQs.

Helplines

The Ministry of Health has set up a telephone and email helpline for any queries and emergencies related to coronavirus.

Number: +91-11-2397 8046

Email: ncov2019@gmail.com

For a list of helpline numbers of States & Union Territories, click here.

India

Total number of active cases: 4,312
Number of patients who recovered: 352
Number of deaths: 124

As confirmed by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on 7 April at 6 PM.

Worldwide

Symptoms to watch out for

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to flu, and can often go undetected for days. Typically look out for fever, common cold and other respiratory illnesses: dry cough, exhaustion, fatigue, breathing difficulty. The symptoms are generic, with nothing identifiable as being specific to COVID-19.

The virus usually incubates for 2-14 days.


Also read: In 8 images, a guide on how coronavirus spreads


DOs & DON’Ts

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds — long enough to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice — at least 3 times a day.
  • Regularly use hand sanitiser
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Discard any tissue used
  • Avoid sharing water bottles and personal hygiene items like towels
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Don’t overburden healthcare systems. Take precautions against the common flu. Preventing a flu outbreak could help diagnose coronavirus patients faster
  • Don’t stockpile on disposable face masks. These need to be worn only by the infected and health care workers, both of whom are experiencing a shortage. Masks should not be worn if a person is not unwell
  • Stock up on regular and essential medication, especially the ones that require prescriptions
  • Prevent the spread of medical misinformation
  • There are no known cures or preventive medicines for coronavirus. Do not forward messages that advise medicines (modern, homeopathy, natural, or herbal) for the virus.
    Home remedies like soups and ginger water can help ease sore throat but cannot prevent or cure coronavirus.

Also read: Will India’s experience with previous outbreaks help it tackle coronavirus better?


Frequently Asked Questions

What is coronavirus and COVID-19? Where did it come from?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that we have known about since the 1930s. They were first found in humans in the ’60s. Two or three of these viruses are in constant circulation among human populations, causing common cold, flu, and other related illnesses. The latest pandemic is due to the spread of a new virus strain, thus called ‘novel coronavirus’. It is similar to SARS (also a type of coronavirus), and is called SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV). The illness it causes is referred to as COVID-19.

The coronavirus is suspected to have come to the human population from animals, most likely from bats via pangolins.

How does it spread?

The novel coronavirus spreads from human to human, though cough droplets. These can also remain on surfaces. This is why it is essential to maintain personal hygiene by washing hands, especially after going to public or crowded places.

R_{0} (pronounced R-nought) is the basic reproduction number that indicates how many other people an infected person can spread it to. For the novel virus, it is expected to be 1.4 to 3.9.

Where do I go if I’m feeling ill?

If symptoms are mild, it is advised to stay home and isolate oneself. Going to hospitals at the sign of a fever or cough will not only overburden the hospital, but also increase chances of actually contracting the virus from other patients.

Some hospitals in cities do screen for COVID-19 while most major airports do so now.

How does the virus affect the body?

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and its focus of attack is usually the lungs. It seems to be very similar to SARS in how it infects and spreads.

There are two kinds of lung cells — mucus cells that protect our passageways and cilia cells, which are hair-like structures that beat around the mucus to clear out dust and pollen. Just like SARS, COVID-19 seems to be killing the cilia cells, which end up filling a patient’s airways with debris.

Our immune system then kicks in, flooding the lungs with immune cells to repair lung tissue. When done optimally, the immune response helps. But often, the immune system goes into overdrive and can cause permanent lung damage.

Inflammation also enables the absorption of fluid into lungs, causing pneumonia. This in turn leads to shortness of breath and painful coughing, and can sometimes lead to death. COVID-19 patients have also experienced multiple organ failures.


Also read: The next pandemic will come. Here’s how to prepare


How long do people typically remain ill?

According to WHO, people will mild symptoms are expected to get cured within 2-3 weeks while more severe cases can take up to 6 weeks.

What is the mortality rate of the disease?

The rate is currently thought to be 3.4 per cent, but an accurate number can be determined only after the end of the flu season (by April).

Are there any medicines — preventative or cures? 

No. There are no medicines or remedies that can help prevent or treat COVID-19.

Should I travel in the next few weeks?

While it is difficult to predict how, where, and how fast the novel virus would spread, it is advisable to curtail all non-essential travel over the next few weeks to months.

How long will the virus spread?

We do not yet know. Experts have noticed that the number of new cases in China has fallen from over 3000+ a day in February to just 300+ in March. This is attributed to China’s systemic, organised, and quick response to contain the outbreak. But COVID-19 is expected to play out for the next few months, and possibly the rest of the year or more.

For more information on the virus, click here.

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3 Comments Share Your Views

3 COMMENTS

  1. “Don’t stockpile on disposable face masks. These need to be worn only by the infected and health care workers, both of whom are experiencing a shortage. Masks should not be worn if a person is not unwell.” stay at home and self isolate. Does GOI recommend managing mild symptoms? When and who should a person contact if symptoms are not mild? What are severe symptoms according to GOI?

    Some crucial information missing from an otherwise good overview.

  2. With the onset of summer, I would like to know whether the covid’s rate of spread is expected to shrink?

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