India: Revamp slums to fight COVID-19
Serological surveillance for SARS-CoV2 infection survey by India’s Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has revealed that 57 per cent of the citizens in the slums and 16 per cent of the citizens in the rest of Mumbai city, had contracted COVID-19, at some time in the last few months (“ 57% of Mumbai slum population has developed COVID-19 antibodies: Study”, Gulf News, July 29). These citizens had contracted the disease silently without realising it, since there were no symptoms and then recovered. Their blood tests revealed that these citizens had developed Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies.
Because of the high percolation of the disease in the city, the citizens need to continue practising all the protocols advocated by the health authorities, like masks, social distancing, practising hygiene, etc. Masks should be made mandatory in all countries, and defaults should carry hefty penalties.
The high contraction rate in the slums of Mumbai is alarming. It shows that COVID-19 is a potent and silent disease. It underscores the need to decongest the slums in the large crowded cities of countries like India, Kenya, Brazil, Venezuela, etc. New townships have to be built, with low-cost housing schemes, to provide clean and hygienic conditions to people who live in squalid slums and have to share toilets and small rooms. Efforts should be made to disperse industries in the rural areas so that migration from the villages to the cities for jobs is reduced.
The revamping of slums will help to fight COVID-19, but it will also help to prepare these cities for any future disease or pandemic, by spreading hygiene.
From Mr Rajendra Aneja
COVID- 19 dilemmas!
Our world is troubled by multifaceted devastation, the magnitude of which is incomprehensible. In December 2019, I read in the newspapers about a new virus attack in Wuhan and how China was struggling to contain it (“In Pictures: The world operates on a new normal”, Gulf News, May 28). The epidemic sparked the world’s news interest. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the change that a ‘family’ of tiny non-living things would bring to the world as we know it. By Jan 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised it as a world threat-a pandemic! And from then on, ‘life as we know it” just unravelled! And oh yes, it is potent and ever-mutating, manifesting in ways which leaves one guessing on its identity. Silent in some and others intensely symptomatic, and yet wreaking destruction on the host body. All around us, the world is in a race against time to recognise it, contain it, rescue those traumatised or victimised by it, and find a treatment or a cure. It is testing our economy, lifestyle, knowledge, mettle, endurance, leadership and all finer qualities of humanity. Now it is July 2020, and the whole world is looking forward to post-COVID19-life and life-after lockdown. We are reading, listening to experts’ opinions and predictions on post-COVID19 business strategies, life challenges and economic situations. All we are anxiously waiting for and wanting to know is when we can get back to our “normal life” and what the “future” would hold for us!
From Mr Ashley Alex
England's Stuart Broad becomes the latest entrant in the last Test against West Indies
It was really a phenomenonal performance by Stuart Broad to enter the Elite club of 500 plus test wickets ( “Photos: Cricket's Magnificent Seven who makes the 500-plus club of Test wicket takers”, Gulf News, July 29) . This record will be much sweeter as Broad was dropped in the first Test against West Indies, which England lost miserably. Anyway now he has proved worth to the team as he not only won the Man of the Match, also the Man of the Series, which should have gone to Ben Stokes who was a hero in the second Test. Of course, Broad is energetic and has another four to five years to catch up with his teammate Jimmy Anderson.
We wish him the best in the coming years. Incidentally, I feel nobody could beat the record of Muthiah Murlidharan for another decade at least.
From Mr Vinay Mahadevan