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Here's What The Experts Said At The India Coming Together Against COVID-19 Telethon

Here's What The Experts Said At The India Coming Together Against COVID-19 Telethon
New Delhi: 

The novel coronavirus outbreak in India has crossed the mark of 3000 confirmed cases. NDTV and Dettol India organised a special two-hour telethon as part of their India Coming Together Against COVID-19 campaign. The campaign aims to provide a platform to highlight the works of the unsung heroes, NGOs and community leaders at the frontline of the hygiene battle against COVID-19. 

At the telethon, NDTV's Dr. Prannoy Roy was joined by the panel consisting of veteran actor Ravina Tondon, Dr Naresh Trehan and Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of RB.


Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of RB highlighted three points on the #IndiaAgainstCOVID19 Telethon, he said, 

First thing is that COVID-19 is a human challenge and not just India challenge. We have learnt in school that hygiene is the foundation of health. The UN did a study and found that only 17 per cent of people wash hands. A study in UK says that a third of men and two third of women wash hands. Sanitisers are good but soap and water are good enough too. We have to understand that behaviour change is the key.

He further stressed on the need for access to a quality (hygiene) product, information and availability of the product. 

In India we are providing 10 million units of bar soap, 3.5 million masks and we are putting money in behaviour change to fight this, he added.

Ms. Tondon asserted that the COVID-19 doesn't care about religion or class and the everyone is vulnerable to the virus. She said, 

Coronavirus doesn't care about the religion and class of people. Everyone is vulnerable and it can happen to anyone. Every needs to take precautions. No one is a celebrity now, humanity is the biggest need of the hour. We cannot afford to be reckless. We need to take precautions for our loved ones and people around us. We need to keep people round us safe.

Dr Naresh Trehan told the telethon panel that he has recommended the government to create COVID hospitals. He explained, 

The government is taking our recommendation into consideration and thinking that we need to create COVID hospitals. It can done in two ways - either to turn the present facility into COVID19 dedicated facility or private hospitals can isolate areas to dedicate it for COVID patients.

4hs79ccoHe further said that major hospitals in Gurugram have adopted a 500-bed hospital and we are on the way of converting it to COVID hospitals and if need, this will be enhanced further. He also said that we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst, Dr. Trehan added, 

Due to the lockdown, we got some time for planning. Currently we know that Italy was ill-prepared and many doctors have got sick. Now many manufacturing firms are coming forward to help in providing essential items and Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), he said.

Lastly Dr. Trehan explained the panel about the kind of masks that could be used to control the spread of COVID-19. 

N-95 masks are for the frontline workers, others can even use cloth masks. All you need to do are two things: If one sneezes it generates bigger droplets, they can carry virus, so must wear a mask and secondly keep your room ventilated, explained Dr. Trehan. 

The Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, joined the telethon as well and stated that Delhi has 503 confirmed cases out which 320 are Markaz Masjid related and 61 are people who returned from foreign countries. 

Based on data we can say that community spread has not happened in Delhi yet. The situation can be controlled. I want to assure that we have a roadmap if 1000 patients are added per day. The situation is not there yet, but medical infrastructure in Delhi is ready for extreme situations, he claimed.


 Kerala Health Minister, K K Shailaja so joined the #IndiaAgainstCOVID19 Telethon and said that we are fighting a war against this pandemic.

We have experience with Nipah virus outbreak also and started a protocol and this time when the virus started in Wuhan we started preparing and planning because we knew that some students from our state were studying in Wuhan university. By January 24, we prepared a control room. All districts also formed district control cell. By January 30 we got our first positive case from Wuhan and on February 2, we got two other cases. We managed them and from them no other contact cases occurred. Contact tracing, surveillance were used extensively to identify the cases and manage them, she said.

She further spoke about the much discussed topic of the extension of the 21-day lockdown which was imposed by the government. She said,
Opening the lockdown is up to the central government. The centre has asked us for our opinion about the withdrawal of lockdown. We think that we cannot fully come out of the lockdown. But in certain ways we can ease and hold the restrictions even after April 14, she said.

When the Cardiac Surgeon, Devi Shetty joined in the #IndiaAgainstCOVID19 Telethon, he asserted that ICMR is the most trustworthy source for medical information. He said,

It is not difficult to get the right information. But internet is full of misinformation. My advice to everyone is just call your doctor and confirm before you take any decision. 

Another guest on the Telethon, Music Director, Bappi Lahiri sang an old Bengali song, to motivate people to fight the pandemic. The song's lyrics - “Mongol deep jale, andhokare do chokh aaloye bhoro, prabhu” translates to “Light the holy lamp to cast away the shadow of darkness.” While Malaika Arora said that she has tired to Yoga to see her self busy during the 21-day lockdown. 

Dr Prathap C Reddy of Apollo Hospitals said that the pandemic was never anticipated at the telethon, he said,

It is a big challenge and I think our government, Prime Minister and Chief Ministers are taking measures to tackle this situation. These are not the time for panic but to follow precautions. Following the lockdown and as the testing is happening the curve is going up. The public health care has taken up enormous challenge and private healthcare will join them. As a doctor and healthcare sector player, I am very pleased with the response we have got from the healthcare community, be it ward boy, nurse or anybody else, they are coming forward and facing the challenge together.


Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation stressed on the importance of inculcating handwashing as a habit, at the #IndiaAgainstCOVID19 telethon. He said, 

Washing hands with soap is extremely important. The government has started Jal Jeevan Mission which will provide drinking water to all households. I think we saw behaviour change that happened because of Swachh Bharat mission, people will change habit now as well. 


Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot talked about the importance of social distancing for fighting the Coronavirus Outbreak in his state. He said, 

I am taking care, trying to be careful about keeping physical distance. We know that every country that has taken this virus seriously and has prepared for it has been able to control it. In Rajasthan, we have taken a 'curfew' approach. Curfew is imposed in all districts and we are increasing the number of testing. We are trying to do contact tracing as much as possible and especially focussing on people coming from foreign countries.

He also spoke about the town, Bhilwara and said that it is a case study in itself. He said, 

Bhilwara was becoming a hotspot of the virus but we have taken containment measure and cluster monitoring took place. 3,000 teams were deployed for this. We started shutting down public places, temples and other places even before the lockdown was announced by the centre.

When it comes to the status of the lockdown itself, Mr. Gehlot said, 

The withdrawal of the lockdown will take place in coordination with the Centre. We need to take each step extremely carefully. Both the state and central government need to take many aspects of transmission into consideration.

Actor Purab Kohli also joined the telethon and told NDTV that he is quarantines in London due to COVID-19 symptoms. He said,

The 7 day quarantine is over for me now. It started with my daughter getting symptoms, then my wife got and then I got it. We called up the services and the doctors. We were advised that it is mild to medium, so we need not worry but must close ourselves inside home.

Bhupesh Baghel, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh told the panel at the telethon on the status of coronavirus cases in his state.  

We have only 10 cases out of which 8 have been cured. 2 patients are still there and stable. We started with closing the borders of the state and then closed all public places. Through media, we have been building awareness on hygiene, sanitation and social distancing. We quarantined all who came from foreign countries and have managed to control the transmissions. We have geared up all public hospitals and have asked all private hospitals to gear up as well but we don't think it will be required.


 Gaurav Gupta, the Founder and CEO of Zomato explained the #IndiaAgainstCOVID19 telethonon panel and views on how they are continuing to serve Zomato customers during the lockdown. He said, 

We are taking multiple steps like Contactless delivery in which the rider can leave the food outside the homes and the customer can pick up later. Practices are being followed to make sure the food users get is safe and the riders are safe. Apart from 'feed the daily wager' initiative in which we have distributed one lakh ration kits, we are supporting restaurant workers. The users can opt for gold membership and the proceeds are going to help restaurants. We are offering 2-year membership instead of one for this so that more people can be covered.


While Anil Agarwal, Founder and Chairman of Vedanta Resources joined the telethon, he asserted that we have to fight out the disease with minimum damage, he said, 

Going beyond how do we move forward, how do we withdraw the lockdown, India Inc. is completely with the government and we are looking at how we can restart the country.

Lastly, Singer Sukhvinder Singh came on the telethon as the last guest to close the #IndiaAgainstCOVID19 telethon with a soulful prayer.

I pray for all to get out of this crisis situation soon. For this, we need courage, hope and cooperation with each other, he said.

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