Sunday April 5, 2020

The Threat of Coronavirus Arrives in Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmiri students from Wuhan in China, which is the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak, have already returned to the Valley and joined their families

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So far, all tests of suspected COVID-19 patients are conducted in Pune and Delhi where samples are sent from Kashmir. Wikimedia Commons

After two locals were declared on Saturday as “high viral dose cases with probability of testing positive for coronavirus”, the threat of the dreaded viral infection has become real in Jammu and Kashmir.

Both the suspected COVID-19 patients have been kept in isolation at the Jammu medical college hospital. Earlier, both of them had escaped from the isolation ward, but were traced on Friday and put under isolation.

“They have a travel trajectory from Italy to India. We are now ascertaining the arch of contact between these two and other locals after they arrived in Jammu”, said an official deployed on viral control and suspect identification duties.

Reports here suggest that around 49 tourists whose travel trajectory included Iran, South Korea and China entered the Valley two months back. Hopefully, these tourists were free of any coronavirus infection, but the fact that they entered the Valley without any confirmatory tests puts the place at high risk.

Around 300 Shia Muslim pilgrims have been to Iraq and other places during the last one month and they have started returning to Kargil district of Ladakh Union Territory. Except for thermal scanners there is no other confirmatory facility that has been used to ascertain whether the returning Kargil pilgrims are safe or not.

Kashmiri students from Wuhan in China, which is the epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak, have already returned to the Valley and joined their families. Parents of around 300 Kashmiri students studying in Iran have held demonstrations for the return of their children to Kashmir.

Coronavirus, Corona Virus, Covid-19, Virus, Pandemic
After two locals were declared on Saturday as “high viral dose cases with probability of testing positive for coronavirus”, the threat of the dreaded viral infection has become real in Jammu and Kashmir. Pixabay

Reports suggest that an exercise have already been started by the external affairs ministry to bring these students back to Kashmir from Iran. So far, all tests of suspected COVID-19 patients are conducted in Pune and Delhi where samples are sent from Kashmir.

Director of Valley’s only super specialty hospital, Sher-e-Kashmir institute of medical sciences, has said that samples of suspected patients are now being sent to Delhi instead of Pune and the results are received within 24 hours.

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Kashmir being a cosmopolitan tourist destination is susceptible to the epidemic more than most other places in the country. The risk is doubled because of the sanguine climate of the Valley where the maximum temperatures rarely rise above 27 degrees Celsius that is believed to be the survival limit for the dreaded virus. (IANS)

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Find Here if Water Treatment Methods Can Kill Coronavirus Or Not

Oxidation with hypochlorous acid or peracetic acid, and inactivation by ultraviolet irradiation, as well as chlorine, are thought to kill coronaviruses

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Coronavirus
The virus can be transported in microscopic water droplets, or aerosols, which enter the air through evaporation or spray. Pixabay

As some coronavirus, including the deadly SARS-CoV-19 one responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can remain infectious for days — or even longer in sewage and drinking water — researchers have called for more testing to determine whether water treatment methods are effective in killing coronavirus.

The virus can be transported in microscopic water droplets, or aerosols, which enter the air through evaporation or spray, the researchers wrote in an editorial for Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, a leading environmental journal.

The researchers — Haizhou Liu, Associate Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Riverside in the US; and Professor Vincenzo Naddeo, Director of the Sanitary Environmental Engineering Division at the University of Salerno in Italy — suggest governments of developed countries must support and finance water and sanitation systems wherever they are needed.

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“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need for a careful evaluation of the fate and control of this contagious virus in the environment,” Liu said. “Environmental engineers like us are well positioned to apply our expertise to address these needs with international collaborations to protect public health,” Liu said. During a 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, a sewage leak caused a cluster of cases through aerosolisation.

Though no known cases of COVID-19 have been caused by sewage leaks, the novel coronavirus is closely related to the one that causes SARS, and infection via this route could be possible. In fact, traces of the novel coronavirus have been found in some wastewater treatment plants in the Netherlands, according to reports. Fortunately, most water treatment routines are thought to kill or remove coronaviruses effectively in both drinking and wastewater.

Oxidation with hypochlorous acid or peracetic acid, and inactivation by ultraviolet irradiation, as well as chlorine, are thought to kill coronaviruses.

Covid-19, Virus, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Epidemic
As some coronavirus, including the deadly SARS-CoV-19 one responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can remain infectious for days — or even longer in sewage and drinking water — researchers have called for more testing to determine whether water treatment methods are effective in killing coronavirus. Pixabay

In wastewater treatment plants that use membrane bioreactors, the synergistic effects of beneficial microorganisms and the physical separation of suspended solids filter out viruses concentrated in the sewage sludge.

Liu and Naddeo cautioned, however, that most of these methods have not been studied for effectiveness specifically on SARS-CoV-19 and other coronaviruses, and they have called for additional research.

They also suggested upgrading existing water and wastewater treatment infrastructure in outbreak hot spots, which possibly receive coronavirus from places such as hospitals, community clinics, and nursing homes.

For example, energy-efficient, light-emitting, diode-based, ultraviolet point-of-use systems could disinfect water before it enters the public treatment system.

Potable water-reuse systems, which purify wastewater back into tap water, also need thorough investigation for coronavirus removal, and possibly new regulatory standards for disinfection, the researchers wrote.

Coronavirus, Virus, Mouth Guard
Oxidation with hypochlorous acid or peracetic acid, and inactivation by ultraviolet irradiation, as well as chlorine, are thought to kill coronaviruses. Pixabay

The extent to which viruses can colonise biofilms is also not yet known. Biofilms are thin, slimy bacterial growths that line the pipes of many ageing drinking water systems. Better monitoring of coronaviruses in biofilms might be necessary to prevent outbreaks.

ALSO READ: Twitter, Mozilla Firefox Get in a “Tug of War” Over Cached Data of Users

If the novel coronavirus could colonise biofilms that line drinking water systems, showerheads might become a possible source of aerosolised transmission. (IANS)