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Is lockdown an only option to beat Covid-19? | KNO

Knowledge and following protocol in letter and spirit, key to stay safe: Dr MS Khuroo

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Srinagar, Aug 05 (KNO): Experts and leading medicos are of the belief that if people get to know about all measures that prevent Covid spread and follow guidelines and protocol in spirit, lockdown is not needed at all. Experts believe that as people are going through continuous lockdown from almost one year first due to scrapping of Article 370 and now Pandemic, many people are on the verge of starvation as Kashmir’s economy is about to collapse. Dr Mohammed Sultan Khuroo, former director SKIMS and head of Apex committee said that if people will take protocol seriously, there is no need of lockdown, however, when people take protocol lightly, there is no option other than to impose restrictions. “Virus is highly optimised for human transmission and the infectivity of the pathogen is much higher than other viruses,” he said. He said that in absence of any drug and vaccine to treat this deadly disease, mitigation and preventive measures are most important to fight the pandemic. In order to prevent transmission, one must know how the virus spreads from one person to another, Dr Khuroo, adding that there are many ways through which it can transmit. “Droplet transmission is recognised as the dominant mode of transmission of the virus, respiratory droplets of 5 to 10 micrometers are generally generated through sneezing, coughing, loud talk and singing and thrown into air. Such droplets generated from an infected persons are heavy and can travel up to a maximum distance of 6 feet in the air,” the leading medico said. He said that if a susceptible person is within 6 feet to the index case, virus enters and attaches to his mouth, nose and eyes and such a situation can occur anywhere. “We have to take care of that infected person without symptoms,” Dr Khuroo said. To stop such transmission, people need to wear masks and keep a social distance of six feet with each other, he said. “Aerosols can also play active part in spread of Covid-19,” he said. The noted epidemiologist said that aerosols are small respiratory droplets of less than 5 micrometers which are generated at heavy breathing, talking and singing. “That aerosols remain or float in the air for about 3 hours and behave differently based on location where they are generated,” he told KNO He said that if aerosols are generated in open place, there are very less chances of its infection, however, if they are generated in closed places it's effect can be heavy. “In closed places it can even enter through tiny pores and edges of face masks directly into the lungs, so people must avoid crowded places and it is believed that people can get virus from their family members rather than from contacts outside the home,” Dr Khuroo said. He said that aerosols can be generated at health care places, theatres, endoscopy and bronchoscopy procedure rooms, ENT and dental clinics. “So health care workers must wear all PPE equipment in order to protect themselves,” the leading gastroenterologist said. He said that coronavirus can also spread through fomites including desktop sources, door knocks, drinking cups, computer keyboards, pens, boxes, currency notes, Stethoscope and other appliances as droplets of infected person can stay alive on such objects for hours depending on material and one can carry such infection after touching these things, he said adding that “we must touching mouth, nose and eyes after touching any such object, disinfect surfaces regularly and handle all items with care following infection control measures and hand wash after touching a fomite.” He said that another mode of transmission is enteric transmission as virus is excreted in feces and urine and if an infected person uses the washroom and another person enters the same washroom, he can inhale the virus through aerosols. “So the fact that so many seemingly innocuous activities can transmit the virus can be scary and it can be ever scarier not knowing the risks associated with each transmission route and without that information how can we take the right steps to protect ourselves. If we take care of all these things there is no need of lockdown,”—(KNO)

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