Covid-19: Precautions Only Cure, British Kashmiri Docs Advise

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by Khalid Bashir Gura

SRINAGAR: As the subsequent weeks after easing of pandemic lockdown witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases thereby prompting authorities on Monday to reimpose strict restrictions in many areas of Srinagar to contain the spread of the virus.

British Kashmiri doctors

In the last week, over 450 cases were detected in Srinagar district alone, thus sending alarming bells ringing of possible community transmission.

Worried about the pandemic back at home, as the COVID-19 deaths have crossed 195 mark in Jammu and Kashmir, and rising with each passing day, top Kashmir doctors from abroad under the patronage of British Kashmiri Medical Association (BKMC) have released a 6.55-minute video in Kashmiri language urging people not to take the pandemic lightly and listen to medical advice to save lives.

This all amidst when the people back at home can be seen flouting health advisories in daylight due to many preconceived misconceptions and conspiracy theories about the virus.

As of now, 177 people in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu have died due to the COVID-19. Srinagar district with 46 deaths has the highest fatalities followed by Baramulla (37), Kulgam (22), Shopian (17), Anantnag (15), Budgam (14), eleven each in Jammu and Kupwara, Pulwama (6), Bandipora (3), Ganderbal (4) and Doda (2) while one death each has been reported from Poonch, Udhampur, Rajouri and Kathua.

The doctors in the video have issued a public appeal urging people not to go out unnecessary and take all precautions to stay away from infection.

Given the weak and inefficient health care system in J&K where hospitals are running out of beds and ventilators at this time. It is certain according to many health care experts and doctors that surge in cases will collapse the health care system in Kashmir as the doctors in the video explained and forewarned how the United Kingdom struggled to control the spread of the virus despite excellent healthcare infrastructure. The doctors will also in the video acquaint Kashmiri audience about the strategies that succeeded.

Preceding the charge, Dr Farooq A Wandroo, Consultant Hematology, and BKMA president said, “We want to say the Kashmiri brothers and sisters that we fought the pandemic hard. There was a huge human loss in Britain and neighbouring countries. Keeping in view the pandemic, we are concerned about you. We are worried about the spread of infection in Kashmir and its spike and spread with growing fatalities. Therefore, people and healthcare experts must fight together against deadly pandemic.”

“Coronavirus does not spread outside human bodies. Most of the people carry it with themselves on asymptomatic bases. They can be anyone with no symptoms but carrying the virus and spreading it which is why the virus spread swiftly in the world,” says Dr  Shariq Lanker, GP Clinical Lead. Adding, he says, more than 45000 people have died due to COVID 19 in the UK. No vaccine or medicine is available to control this pandemic. Nations curbed the disease from spreading by imposing lockdown and maintaining social distancing. Our appeal to Kashmiri brothers and sisters is to minimize the social contacts and take safety measures. This is a critical phase of the pandemic. It is in the community and it can spread,” said the doctor.

Dr Shaheen Shora, Consultant and Medical Lead advises,“Go out when it is necessary and then maintain a six feet distance from each other. Wear facemasks when outside the home as the mask minimizes contracting infections. Please, avoid gatherings and offer prayers at home. Avoid participating in funeral prayers. If it is necessary, then also maintain a six feet distance and wear masks.”

As the elderly are more prone to infections due to a multitude of reasons, the doctors have urged people to take care of the elderly and avoid physical contact with them.

“Please take care of the elderly and patients having underlying diabetes, blood pressure, chest problems, suffering from cancer and are going through treatment, or are dependent on steroids. Please contact the elderly, who are not staying with you, over the phone. The more distant you stay the more infection will be at bay. Try to avoid going and meeting them physically,” said Dr Sameena Muzaffer, Consultant Urogynecologist.

Given the disease discrimination many people faced because of testing positive Dr Afifa Qazi, Medical Director, and Consultant urged people to not discriminate or stigmatize people who have been infected with the virus. “It can happen to anyone. I urge people to see around and help people in need. Please do not visit the hospital because you may get infected,” she said.

Dr Syed Imtiyaz Geelani, Consultant Emergency Medicine, said, “in case someone contracts infection and has symptoms like fever, breathlessness, dry cough, tiredness, body ache, and loss of taste or smell should get tested and isolate oneself. This will prevent the infection from spreading to people in proximity like family. Most of people recover after some weeks.”

“There is a minority of cases that don’t and in those cases, one should rush to the hospital. Listen to the advice of doctors, nurses and other paramedics. They are doing their best to keep the infection away from people. We should respect each other,” he said.

The video ends on an optimistic note by the BKMA president, Dr Farooq A Wandroo, said that the pandemic will soon end only if people apply minds and rationally take on this virus and follow the health advisories, precautions and SOP’S.

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About Author

A Mass Communication and Journalism postgraduate from the University of Kashmir, Khalid is a writer by choice and a journalist by chance.

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