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Explained: Should The Coronavirus Be Declared A Global Pandemic?

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

With every passing hour, new cases of Coronavirus are coming out. While Europe, America, and Asia are struggling with this virus, the World Health Organisation said that it can be stopped by adopting the right measures.

COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly worldwide. On Wednesday, 500 new cases were reported in South Korea and the death toll in Italy increased to 79 overnight.

In Japan, infection cases have reached 1,000 and the spread of the virus has raised questions over Japan’s ability to host the Olympics. But the Japanese government has not yet announced the postponement of the Olympics and the preparations continue.

Scientists still cannot tell how deadly Coronavirus is. The new virus is reaching different countries of the world but at the same time, its mystery is also getting deeper.

The World Health Organisation had warned that we could see Coronavirus spreading as a universal pandemic. But there is an atmosphere of uncertainty as to whether it is really such a huge global emergency. The UN body has already increased the level of threat to the world due to Coronavirus to “very high” a week ago and believes that the global infection of COVID-19 is almost certain. But why has the agency not officially confirmed the coronavirus to be a universal pandemic till now?

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organisation, said, “We have never before seen a respiratory disease that is capable of spreading at the community level. But it can be controlled with the right measures.” 90,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in more than 60 countries.

Around 3,100 people have died due to this virus so far. The highest number of deaths have been reported in China. With 600 new cases reported in South Korea outside China, the figure has reached close to 4,800. On the other hand, there have been 6 deaths in the US, which is still safe from this virus. All these deaths have occurred in Washington.

According to the Geneva-based organisation, any disease is tested at six levels to declared it in the “pandemic phase.” The level declared by the agency at the moment is its highest danger level. According to the Public Health Emergency of International Concern’s (PHEIC) agency’s new definition, it is being considered.

It is still proving difficult for most people to get the correct information related to the COVID-19 virus of Corona. The situation of panic and chaos is being created and due to the lack of easy data. First of all, it has to be accepted that COVID-19 is spreading very fast.

At the same time, 2,100 cases have been confirmed in the European Union. Italy is the most affected country in Europe. In Italy, health authorities have registered more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19, while the death toll has risen to 52.

In Germany too, fresh cases have increased twice in the last twenty-four hours. The eastern states of Germany, Thuringia, and Brandenburg have registered their first cases. With this, the number of people suffering from the virus has increased to 157 in Germany.

The disease that spread to many countries of the world was first found in China and from here it started spreading its foot in the whole world. The outbreak of the disease has also been seen by the travel of people. There have been reports of the virus spreading too many new cities including New York, Moscow, New Delhi, and Berlin. With this, for the first time, the infection has been confirmed in Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Indonesia, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Jordan, and Portugal.

Air travel has been severely affected with the spread of Coronavirus.

In India, the government has become cautious after the Coronavirus infection has been confirmed in three citizens. The government has asked people not to panic and take precautions. The World Bank has announced $12 billion in aid for developing countries to strengthen their health systems.

On Tuesday, March 3, the third case of Coronavirus infection was confirmed in India. The infected person is an Italian tourist who is currently in Jaipur. The case of infection first came to light in Delhi. The second infected person is from Bangalore, who is now under the supervision of doctors in Hyderabad. I

t is suspected that six more people who came in contact with a patient from Delhi may also be infected. They have been kept in a hospital in Delhi.

The central government has said that there is no need to panic and the government has constantly monitored the situation. Doctors say that this virus is spread through contact with droplets released during sneezing and coughing. some precautions need to be taken, such as keeping a proper distance from an infected person, washing hands several times a day and using a sanitizer.

The government has extended health check-ups at 77 ports including 21 airports for people coming from 12 countries including China, Iran, Italy, Singapore. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that more than 5 lakh and 50 thousand passengers have been checked at the airports so far, while more than 12 thousand passengers have been screened at the ports.

The Indian Health Minister said that Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim are also being investigated on the borders with Nepal. According to Harsh Vardhan, a health checkup of more than 10 lakh people has been done in these areas so far.

Meanwhile, all the crew members have been asked to stay in their house for 14 days due to the infected passengers of COVID-19 in Air India’s Vienna-Delhi flight.

On the other hand, 100 Indian fishermen are stranded in Iran. The Kerala government has written a letter to the central government seeking intervention. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written a letter to Foreign Minister S Jaishankar seeking intervention on the issue of Indian fishermen and urging them to return.

At the same time, 85 Indian students have been kept under observation in the Lombardy region of Italy. Indian students have requested the government to save them. All these students study at the University of Pavia, Italy.

Now the thing that matters the most is that doctors, health care staff and health departments of all the states and common people should take the right steps and adopt a responsible attitude. In general words, for this, ordinary people can avoid going to crowded events.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has raised concerns about the lack of masks, gloves and other protective equipment. The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a message has appealed to people all over the world to stop hoarding these devices as it is making doctors, nurses and other health workers are difficult to take care of patients properly.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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