English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

India did better by not trusting WHO

India did better by not trusting WHO

India has managed to keep the coronavirus cases and the death toll low primarily because it refused to accept the China-dictated version that the World Health Organization had been peddling till January, a government official said.

Till the middle of January, the Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus-headed WHO was saying that it was not a human-to-human contagion. The agency infamously tweeted on January 14, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”

Unlike most governments, the Narendra Modi regime refused to accept the WHO’s version, a senior Health Ministry official informed India Narrative, adding that the government began “closely monitoring the situation” despite the misleading WHO tweet.

“Dr. HarshVardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, has been closely monitoring the situation after the reports of 41 confirmed cases of novel Corona virus (nCoV) including one death from Wuhan, China on 5thJanuary, 2020,” an official press release said on January 17, that is, three days after the WHO tweet.

On the direction of the Health Ministry, meetings of the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) were convened under the chairmanship of the Director General of Health Services on January 8 and 15 with representations from various stakeholders (health and non-health sectors) and the WHO, press release said.

Further, “as a matter of abundant precaution, the Ministry of Health has instructed screening of international travellers from China at designated airports namely, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, through thermal scanners. In coordination with Ministry of Civil Aviation, in-flight announcements are also being made. A travel advisory has also been issued to the passengers travelling to and from China on the issue.”

The Health Ministry issued necessary directions to all concerned on laboratory diagnosis, surveillance, infection prevention and control (IPC), and risk communication. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) was geared up for community surveillance and contact tracing.

It is instructive to note that all this was mentioned in the January 17 press release, which was four days before the Chinese government announced the human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.

India refused to be misguided by the WHO. Another government press release on January 17 said, “Although as per World Health Organization’s risk assessment the risk for global spread has been stated as low, as a matter of abundant precaution, the travelers to China are advised the following:

Travelers to China should follow simple public health measures at all times as under:

Observe good personal hygiene

Practice frequent hand washing with soap

Follow respiratory etiquettes—cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing

Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness, such as cough, runny nose etc.

Avoid contact with live animals and consumption of raw/undercooked meats

Avoid travel to farms, live animal markets or where animals are slaughtered

Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose

All travelers to China (in particular Wuhan city) to monitor their health closely.”

It looks like the medical authorities in our country, distrustful of the WHO, took ample precautions right from the beginning. “This is the reason that the coronavirus cases and the resultant toll have remained low in our country,” the Health Ministry official said. While India has 5,218 active cases and 169 deaths, there are over 4.6 lakh confirmed cases in the US and more than 16,000 deaths. The corresponding numbers for Italy are 143,626 and 18,279 and for Spain 152,449 and 15,351..