Social distancing a new norm

World Health Organization admits that the world cannot go back to the way things were before Covid-19

By Author  |  Published: 24th Apr 2020  12:02 amUpdated: 23rd Apr 2020  11:04 pm
Social distancing
People maintain social distancing in Erragadda of Hyderabad while collecting food distributed by some Good Samaritans. —Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: After spending exactly a month in the lockdown, many in the State might be looking forward for the social distancing measures to ease, so that they can get on with their lives.

It could be quite frustrating to stay indoors for such a long time and general public might be hoping that in the coming weeks, normalcy is restored and all can go back to the way things were, before the Covid-19 outbreak changed the world.

However, for the first time since the pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday acknowledged that the world cannot go back to the way things were.

‘There must be a new normal, a world that is better prepared, safer and healthier. Early evidence suggests that most of the world’s population continues to remain susceptible. That means epidemics can re-ignite,’ it said.

Public health experts in Hyderabad and in the country also have given clear indications that after the first-wave of Covid-19 outbreak in the country, things will be very difficult to go back to normalcy, because the virus is not expected to go away just like that.

“It’s increasingly becoming clear that we must adjust to the new normal. We can’t go back to the way we used to live, whenever the governments decide to exit the lockdowns. Social distancing and gradual removal of restrictions should have to be followed. Regions that continue to struggle to prevent positive Covid-19 cases must be even stricter in their exit strategies,” says Dr. P Raghuram, senior oncologist and President, The Association of Surgeons of India.

On its part, the WHO has advocated that individual countries and states must continue to find, isolate, test and provide health care to every suspected case of coronavirus in the community or a population. Apart from finding, isolating, testing and providing health care, the positive and suspected cases must be tracked and kept in quarantine.

These are the only ways that a country can get rid or at least control the novel strain of coronavirus, it said.

Senior doctors also pointed out that the lockdown due to coronavirus has managed to instil some discipline on personal hygiene among the community.

“Simple measures like hand washing, cough etiquette etc were also talked about during the swine flu outbreak. However, as the swine flu faded, people forgot those measures. This time, however, it appears to be very different, as people are taking it seriously. Even after lockdown, people must continue with such practices,” says former superintendent of Gandhi Hospital and senior general physician Dr. B Balraju.

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