India, the second-most populous country in the world, is amongst the first territory to prepare for the outbreak of the dangerous respiratory virus. From January 17 onwards, Indian authorities have begun scanning people at airports for irregularities – only six days after Chinese media reported the first known death.

 111142751 Mediaitem111142750
Face masks are needed when going outside or to places with a lot of people

What is the current situation?

Lspic1 1583428423862

However, due to the extreme transmission ability of the virus, as of March 6, there have been thirty-one cases of Corona reported in India. Most of them occurred in the last few days – with over half of that number being Italian tourists. Anxiety has been growing, with a few offices temporarily shut down after their employees tested positive for the virus.

Fdsa

More than six hundred thousand people have been tested for Covid-19 in the last few days – with India delivering strict regulations on the country’s 77 seaports and 21 airports. In the region near the Nepal border, more than twenty-seven thousand people are under surveillance, along with 1 million cases tested. A screening lab is getting set up in Iran to test all the returnees as well. More medical personnel are getting trained for emergencies - India has also stopped exporting N95 masks to ensures the supplies internally.

What are the challenges?

Lspic3 1583428612

While all these preparations might not be enough, as the virus's incubation periods can get to 24 days in some cases, there is hope. India has a great track record of dealing with plagues like polio, the 2009 swine flu or the recent Nipah virus - the country can manage pretty well at the "prevent" step.

 111142768 Gettyimages 1205049662 594x594
Soon, 34 labs across India would be ready for testing the virus samples

The uneven quality of India's public health system, however, would prove to be its biggest weakness if the disease gets a foothold, as existing hospitals can be easily overwhelmed with a sudden spike of infected cases. The supply of needed items like masks, gloves, drugs is also pretty sketchy - and because of that, it is pretty hard to emulate the mass quarantine method of China in India.

Final verdict:

India is doing pretty well in preventing the outbreak from spreading, however, if it does spread, the country would be in serious trouble. There is no reason to panic yet - people should just follow the usual simple prevention methods: Wash hands, maintain hygiene, and applying for tests if suspected symptoms occur. For more articles on our site about the coronavirus, please check out its tag.