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Only 11 percent of citizens say there is effective social distancing compliance in their area, while only 29 percent say mask compliance is effective, as per a survey by Local Circles. The survey said that the mask-wearing and social distancing compliance is really low in smaller towns and rural areas and enforcement is near zero. The first wave was predominantly urban and semi-urban-centric and had not impacted rural India except in cases where migrants were going back to their hometown.
A significant risk with the current wave is it reaching smaller towns and rural areas most of which do not have the required health infrastructure to deal with the spike in cases which will mean more suffering and more pressure on the urban health centers because individuals who can afford will reach to their nearest urban health centers and cities who in turn will have to treat their own population but those from out of the district.
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As indicated by the findings of the survey, only 29 percent and 11 percent of citizens believe that mask-wearing and social distancing compliance are good in their area, district, or city. Even at vaccination centers, though 74 percent of citizens say mask compliance is good, and 44 percent of citizens say social distancing compliance is good. As the vaccination drive is expanding, compliance to these norms is expected to worsen. With many senior citizens approaching vaccination centers for their second dose in the next 2-4 weeks, it is critical that mask and social distancing norms are enforced by those vaccinating and administering the drive or it will not happen.
The last thing we as a nation want is the vaccination centers becoming super spreaders. The number of positive cases amid the 2nd wave of Covid-19 has been constantly rising in India, crossing the 1,00,000, with Maharashtra taking the lead, followed by Karnataka, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh amongst other states. The Health Secretary has been reiterating that urgent action must be taken while Niti Aayog member V.K. Paul has described the ongoing situation as going from “bad to worse” as daily cases in the month of March alone reached nearly 9-fold, with a 3-fold rise in daily deaths.
The following suit amid concerns, the Government of Maharashtra has announced night curfew, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., along with weekend lockdown starting Friday from 8 p.m. to Monday 7 a.m. It has announced a complete shutdown of the gymnasium and indoor sports, religious places, theatre, amusement parks, salons, beauty parlors, as well as political rallies. It has also announced that private offices will have to work from home, while government offices, except health, disaster, and medical education departments, will work to 50 percent capacity.
Citizens on the LocalCircles platform have been regularly reporting about people in their area, district, or city becoming complacent towards following Covid protocols, especially towards social distancing and mask-wearing, and even if people had a mask with them, it rarely covered their mouth and the nose. Also, many reports were received about how rallies and public meetings are being held in poll-bound states, including private and public events, markets that rarely have any social distancing or mask-wearing compliance.
As the daily caseload crossed more than 1 lakh vis-a-vis rising in new variants of SARS-COV-2 amid vaccination to more than 7.5 crore citizens, LocalCircles has conducted another survey to understand how people are following social distancing and mask-wearing norms as cases. Only 11 percent of citizens feel that there is good compliance with social distancing norms and wearing masks in their area, district, or city.
In the question that tried to understand citizens’ experience and observation of people in their area, district, or city are complying with wearing a mask and following social distancing norms, 23 percent said “No compliance at all for both social distancing and wearing a mask”, 18 percent said “No compliance to social distancing but wearing a mask”, 22 percent said “No compliance to social distancing and limited compliance to wearing a mask”, and 1 percent said “No compliance to wearing a mask and limited compliance to social distancing”. There was only 23 percent of citizens who said “limited compliance to both wearing a mask and social distancing”, and just 11 percent saying “good compliance to both social distancing and wearing a mask”, while 2 percent couldn’t say.
Only 29 percent of citizens say mask compliance is good in their area, district, or city. Wearing a mask is one of the most important Covid-19 precaution measures. Wearing a mask alone reduces the chances of getting infected drastically as it stops the virus from entering both the mouth and the nose. Citizens from around the world are upgrading their masks and moving to KN95 or N95 masks, and in some cases, people are wearing double basic masks for protection.
Per September 2020 survey by LocalCircles, 67 percent of citizens rated compliance level as good in their area, which then reduced drastically to 30 percent in February 2021 survey. Various reasons cited by citizens at the time for not wearing masks included discomfort, no or poor enforcement by most local authorities, and declining caseloads in their area.
Even though the caseloads are now steadily rising, only 29 percent of citizens in the current survey have rated that mask compliance by people is ‘good’ in their area. When the data was analyzed based on locations, citizens who said compliance was ‘limited’ in location was 45 percent, while those who rated it as ‘no compliance’ was 24 percent. This indicates that the mask compliance has been going down from metros to urban to semi-urban and rural India.
74 percent of citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing masks at the vaccination center/location; 44 percent say compliance to social distancing norms is effective. 44 percent of citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing masks when traveling by flights or at airports, trains or at railway stations, bus or at bus stands. Only 15 percent said compliance to social distancing norms is effective.
With the school session getting over in many parts, people have been traveling in March and have made their summer travel plans as well. To understand what people experienced when they traveled in the last 30 days, the Local Circles survey tried to understand from citizens about the mask and social distancing compliance when traveling in flights, trains, buses as well as at airports, train stations, and bus stands.
In response, 25 percent said, “no compliance at all for both social distancing and wearing a mask”, 29 percent said “no compliance to social distancing but wearing a mask”, and 15 percent said “no compliance to social distancing and limited compliance to wearing a mask”.
Breaking down the poll, 14 percent said “limited compliance to both wearing mask and social distancing”, while 15 percent said “good compliance to both social distancing and wearing a mask”, and 2 percent couldn’t say. The findings of the poll indicated that 44 percent of citizens feel that there is effective compliance to wearing masks when traveling at airports, railway stations, or bus stands. Only 15 percent said compliance to social distancing norms is effective. (IANS/SP)
High drama was witnessed in Kanpur Dehat for over an hour when a man, upset over his wife's alleged affair with a local man, climbed the tower with his children and threatened to commit suicide. The incident took place on Monday near Gandhi Nagar in Akbarpur, when the man threatened to commit suicide after throwing his kids down from a height of nearly 40-feet. Chaos prevailed around the area and the locals informed the police that rushed to the spot.
After about half-an-hour of convincing, the police managed to bring him and his children down. The man told the police that his wife's affair was going on with his neighbor. He had complained to the police, but no action was taken. Police said that as per the man, his wife had developed an illicit relationship with a man, living nearby their house. "As per the man, in his absence, his neighbor visited his house often. He said that he had reprimanded his neighbor many times, but to no avail," said the police.
The man had complained to the police, but no action was taken. | Pixabay
The man had also lodged a complaint with the police but no action was taken. On the other hand, Akbarpur police said that on the basis of the complaint, action for breach of peace has been taken against the neighbor accused of luring his wife. Circle officer (CO) Akbarpur Arun Kumar said that the police are trying to sort out the issue. "Whatever action is appropriate will be taken," the official added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, man, wife, alleged, affair, children, India, police, neighbor, complaint, suicide, accuse, drama.)
The US forces continued their bombardment of buildings and institutions in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, as part of their alleged manhunt of Islamic State (IS) fugitives, state news agency SANA reported. The US forces are shelling buildings and public institutions on Tuesday in the vicinity of the Sina'a prison in the Gweiran neighborhood in Hasakah "on the pretext of hunting down IS militants who fled the prison," said SANA.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. | Wikimedia Commons
The shelling came in tandem with waves of raids by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to homes in the surrounding areas, rounding up many civilians and taking them to unknown locations, the state news agency added. On January 20, IS inmates inside the Sina'a prison, which is controlled by the SDF, started a riot that was coordinated with IS militants from outside, who detonated the prison's gates with two booby-trapped vehicles, succeeding to free some prisoners.
The incident triggered clashes between IS and the SDF as well as US airstrikes on the areas, where the IS fugitives could have sought shelter in, Xinhua news agency reported. The clashes and airstrikes are still ongoing as the SDF has so far failed to contain the situation and storm the prison. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has slammed the US airstrikes as civilian casualties have been reported. Hasakah province is largely controlled by the US-backed SDF, while certain areas, particularly in the city of Qamishli, are still under the control of the Syrian government. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: US forces, shelling, bombarding, syria, islamic state, civilian casualties, qamishli, tandem, syrian democratic forces)
The circulating avian influenza outbreaks, including in India, do not seem to pose the 'high' risk but surveillance and biosecurity measures are necessary to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds, a UN-backed scientific task force said. Throughout the past autumn and current winter in the northern hemisphere, multiple avian influenza outbreaks, caused predominantly by the H5N1 HPAI virus, plus other subtypes, including H5N8, have occurred in India, the UK, the Netherlands and Israel with the ever recorded mortality of the Svalbard barnacle geese in Solway Coast.
The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, co-convened by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), on Monday recommended that surveillance and biosecurity measures are reinforced to reduce spillover risk between poultry and wild birds. The Task Force has convened and produced recommendations and guidance for authorities and managers of countries affected or at risk. Wild birds, including globally threatened species, are victims of HPAI viruses causing avian influenza. Affected sites also include areas of international relevance for conservation such as protected wetlands.
More than 2,400 migratory water birds died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal last year because of avian influenza. | Unsplash
It is essential that authorities with responsibility for animal health apply the One Health approach for communicating and addressing avian influenza. That means recognising the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment and acting with a coordinated and unified approach. The Task Force reminds authorities of their international obligations to ensure their response to the pathogenic virus does not include the culling of wild birds, nor actions that would cause damage to natural ecosystems, especially wetlands.
Ruth Cromie, who coordinated the work of the Task Force and the production of the statement, said: "Avian influenza represents a One Health issue threatening health across the board. The highly pathogenic viruses are still relatively new in wild birds and this winter's high levels of mortality remind us of their vulnerability and that working to promote healthy wildlife benefits us all." H5N1 is currently the avian influenza lineage most found in Africa and Eurasia in both poultry and wild birds. The wide range of wild birds affected include wildfowl, waders, gulls, cranes, grebes, herons, pelicans, gamebirds, corvids and raptors (diurnal and nocturnal), in addition to sporadic cases in mammals such as red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) and harbor Phoca vitulina and grey seal Halichoerus grypus.
Consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations. | Unsplash
In terms of human health, the currently circulating H5N1 HPAI viruses do not seem to pose the same zoonotic risk as the 'original' Asian lineage H5N1 (clade 2.2 and their derivatives plus clade 184.108.40.206b H5N6 viruses currently in China). In general, the risk can be considered low, recognising that some agencies now consider occupational exposure, e.g. those working on poultry culling operations, as low or moderate. In India, several instances of bird flu were reported in 2021. More than 2,400 migratory water birds, and almost half of them being endangered bar-headed goose, died in the Pong wetlands in Himachal Pradesh last year and that avian influenza (H5N1) was the cause.
Besides the bar-headed goose, the other species that died were the shoveler, the river tern, the pochard and the common teal. An 11-year-old boy died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi last year due to avian influenza, country's first fatality. India reported the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006. RSPB Scotland is calling for an emergency local moratorium restricting shooting on the Solway for the rest of the wildfowling season. It calls for urgent action to reduce the devastating impacts of avian influenza. New statistics from the most recent counts show that the UK is this winter experiencing the worst outbreak of this deadly disease on record, with migratory geese which 'over winter' on the Solway being the hardest hit.
According to RSPB Scotland, the latest population counts of the Svalbard barnacle goose show a drop in numbers from 43,703 in November last year to 27,133 in this month's count. This represents a decline of 38 per cent in the Svalbard breeding population of this species from winter 2020-21. CMS Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said: "Through late 2021 and early 2022 there have been numerous outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, with severe impacts on migratory birds. "The CMS Secretariat responded by convening the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds together with the FAO. We are pleased to share its advice and key recommendations for countries affected or at risk, and look forward to continuing our collaborative work to minimize risks to humans, poultry and wild populations of migratory birds." (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : avian, influenza, surveillance, United Nation, scientists, breeding, population, birds, affected, countries, poultry, migratory, health, issue, virus, responsibility, international, ecosystem.)