Bengaluru to Meerut to Delhi, H1N1 virus spreading fast; time to hit the panic button?


In an alarming situation, 6 of the 34 Supreme Court judges are down with H1N1 virus (also known as swine flu), Justice DY Chandrachud said on Tuesday adding that he had requested Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde to issue necessary directions to tackle the emergency arising in the apex court.

Another 37 people have tested positive for the virus in Meerut. The number of H1N1 cases have risen since January, say district health officials. The health department has advised people to follow cleanliness and hygiene to contain the swine flu spread. The health department is also keeping a check on areas reporting more H1N1 cases.

Last Friday, the Indian arm of German software group SAP shut down all offices in the country for sanitisation. The decision was taken after two of its Bengaluru office employees tested positive for the H1N1 virus. The company has asked all its employees to work from home until further notice, SAP said in a statement.

Meanwhile, CJI held a meeting with Supreme Court Bar Association chief Dushyant Dave over the spread of H1N1 virus. Dave also proposed to release Rs 10 lakh to take required actions to contain the virus. CJI said a notification would soon be issued to arrange vaccination in one or two days. As per Dave, H1N1 vaccination will cost around Rs 1,200. In Court Room Number 2 of the Supreme Court today, Justice Sanjiv Khanna was also seen wearing a mask during a hearing, reported ANI.

H1N1 cases in India have been reported close on the heels of new coronavirus spread across the world, primarily China. Seventy-one new coronavirus deaths were reported from China on Monday, taking the total number of casualties to 2,663. As many as six people have tested positive for the deadly virus in India too.

Also read: SAP shuts India offices as 2 employees test positive for H1N1

Symptoms of H1N1 virus

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), H1N1 symptoms include fever, chills and sore throat and is similar to seasonal influenza but has been characterised by higher fatality rates among healthy young adults and higher incidence of viral pneumonia. It spreads from person to person, either by touching the affected person or inhaling.

What does WHO say

Since the first recorded cases in April 2009, the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus has spread rapidly across the globe resulting in sustained community transmission worldwide. As per the WHO, to minimise transmission during health care, it is crucial that health-care workers, other care-givers, including attendants, patients, and visitors, follow appropriate infection prevention and control) precautions.

Follow ‘hand hygiene’

The WHO says “hand hygiene” is a major component of standard precautions and one of the most effective methods to prevent transmission of such pathogens.  Hand hygiene must be performed before and after any contact with patients and after contact with contaminated items or surfaces. Hand hygiene includes either washing hands with soap and water or the use of an alcohol?based hand rub. Use of PPE does not eliminate the need for hand hygiene.

Also read: 6 SC judges down with H1N1 virus; CJI holds emergency meeting

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