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AMDA COVID-19 Survey (Sept. 2020) #7: Situation in India

Publication date:2020-09-24
 
This month, AMDA Headquarters has been conducting a survey targeting AMDA chapters in assessing the COVID-19 situation in each country. The results will be shared on this webpage from time to time.
 
  • Date:  8 September 2020
  • Name of your chapter: AMDA-INDIA
  • Total cases in your country (until 1 September 2020): 4,280,422
  • Active cases (as of 1 September 2020): 883,697
  • Number of deaths: 72,777
  • Number of patients recovered: 3,323,950
 
 

Dr. Kamath
AMDA-INDIA

Lockdown, restrictions and other measures by the government: 

A strict three-week lockdown was announced in India from 24 March 2020. As infected cases were on the rise day by day, it was extended up to almost 68 days. On 31 May, the central government gradually started lifting the lockdown. Initial phases allowed just emergency and other essential services. In a phased manner, many state governments decided to relax restrictions depending on the number of infected cases. Social gatherings, gyms, bars, metros and buses were completely banned or stopped, or put under the direction of state governments. Interstate movements were either allowed or prohibited according to the case numbers in different states.

Now, the lockdown is mostly lifted with conditions such as physical distancing, no gatherings, and frequent hand-wash, not to mention installing sanitisers at public places. Tests are being done mostly free of charge in all localities around the major “containment zones”.

The government is also providing full support such as free food, medicine and accommodation to those who are under self-quarantine or those with severe symptoms.
 

How is your country’s medical system responding? : 

Initially, India’s medical system was under stress due to a sudden increase in demand for ventilators. But later on with better understanding of the virus and confidence in dealing with complications, the situation improved. As for now, non-medical specialists (mostly educated people) are also capable of handling mild symptoms at home with a help of tele-consultations while counting on various herbs and natural immune-boosters.

Home quarantine is being applied to mild or moderate symptoms. Tele-consultations are advised as a preferred way to stay in touch with one’s doctors.

 

Dr. Meenakshi providing relief items in public places

Your chapter’s activities against COVID-19 (including future plans):

At AMDA-INDIA, we tried a few things to help the society. In early March when case numbers started rising and advisory for the use of masks, hand sanitisers and liquid hand-wash were being called on, we distributed 50 face masks and hand sanitisers to labourers who regularly work in the so-called “danger zones”. Also, along with the mask distribution, AMDA-INDIA Secretary General Dr. Meenakshi Joshi advised each of them on how to cope with stressful times ahead, how to keep themselves safe and how to improve their hygiene.

After the sudden announcement of the lockdown, people were in panic as they were urged to keep three months of food stocks. Assuming that the lockdown would be extended for a long period, labourers started walking towards nearest bus stops in an attempt to leave cities and head to their hometowns. (Most of the workers were from the state of Bihar.) Despite the government’s request to hold back and report to shelters, some of them did not obey (and managed to reach their native lands).

In one instance, Dr. Meenakshi received a call about a family with two children who managed to walk 55 km but got stuck due to exhaustion and blazing heat. As they had no place to go and required immediate assistance, AMDA-INDIA opened its office and arranged basic things for them. From 25 March until the ban on people’s movement was relaxed, around two months the family sought shelter there. We kept calling them by phone as we could not visit them in person because of the complete lockdown. They managed to cook for themselves with foodstuffs and cooking utensils we provided.

Also, we started working on procuring handmade cloth-masks as we thought this problem would stay for a bit longer. AMDA-INDIA has made a pledge to protect environment and natural resources. Disposable masks are a burden on resources and we never encourage any kind of disposable items unless they are very important. As for now, except medical staff dealing with active cases, the rest of us do not need disposable masks. AMDA-INDIA hired a group of women in the Nilgiri Mountains to stitch two-fold unbleached pure cotton masks. We procured 1,100 pieces as soon as the lockdown was relaxed in a phased manner. We also purchased 25 litters of hand sanitizers (80% abv), 15 litters of Dettol liquid hand-wash along with 200 pieces of COVID-19 precaution pamphlets.
 
We distributed these washable face masks to religious facilities, gas stations, air-filling stations, parks, police stations, as well as to those who were working as security guards, cleaners, vendors and labourers in two densely populated cities, Delhi and Gurugram. Likewise, we visited a care home that houses 500 abandoned and mentally-handicapped seniors to donate items such as masks, sanitizers and liquid hand-wash.

As for our future plans, AMDA-INDIA is planning to start COVID-related free tele-consultations for those who have been placed under self-quarantine. We are also considering giving updates on the web and holding webinars for communities, while providing essential supplies and gear against the viral infection.


 
    •  India
    •  2020
    •  COVID-19

 
 
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