Dangerous compromise

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Professional inaptitude, lack on concern together with complete unaccountability make a deadly cocktail which is putting entire Kashmir at grave risk in the face of coronavirus threat. Now see the people coming from China, instead of being quarantined for two weeks under expert medical supervision, are being allowed to go home. For the sake of some hollow tokenism, the concerned authorities led by the Director Health Services, subject the people coming in from China to some cursory clinical check-up and ask them to go for self-quarantine at their respective homes. Now this is absolutely ridiculous. What makes the health authorities to expect that these people will heed their advise and self-isolate for two weeks?

In the past couple of days, several locals who had been to China for some reason, including some students, have landed up at Srinagar airport. However, after being greeted there by the senior health officials all these people have been allowed to go home without being quarantined as is warranted. Now it may be asked as to what is the mechanism and methodology adopted by the concerned health officials at Srinagar airport to arrive at the conclusion that the students and others arriving from China are free of any infections and that they can go home. By allowing the people arriving from China to go home without quarantining them for a certain period, the authorities are putting an entire population to grave risk.

It is to be understood that the incubation period of the coronavirus, the length of time before symptoms appear, is between one and 14 days. So, there is every possibility that people coming here from the China, even if they may not show any symptoms as of now, may still contain the virus which will show itself in few days time. Allowing these people to go home right away without quarantining them for 14 days, and merely urging them to go for self-isolation (self-quarantine), the authorities here are showing abject callousness which can prove a very dangerous mistake. This virus has the ability to remain dormant in a person for certain time, and can even infect others coming in contact with the body fluids of the host even when the virus remains inactive in the host body, who in this case acts only as a carrier of the disease. It is to be understood that once a person, who is not ill yet but if he(she) carries the virus, leaves the airport and goes back to his family, the possibility of others contracting the infection is very high. And then, we do not have any means to sort out or to identify people at risk of transmitting the disease further, leave aside having the necessary wherewithal to treat a large number of infected people.

This callousness is not expected of the Health department. And certainly the divisional administration will have to wake up to the dangers posed by this carelessness and direct the health department to go by the rule-book. Instead of evolving with their own flawed responses, it is better that the authorities stick to the textbook and follow the procedures that are in vogue elsewhere. If developed West cannot take any chances with the emergent threats, there is no reason for anyone here to have any faith in the flawed, unprofessional and unscientific handling of the people coming in from China here at the Srinagar airport.

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