GUWAHATI, March 25 - The United Kingdom has detailed records for all its citizens, which has helped the government to reach out to its most vulnerable people while fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Countries lacking this important data are obviously at a huge disadvantage in their effort to target and protect this vulnerable cohort of the population. This is the personal observation of an Assamese doctor working in the United Kingdom.
When contacted by The Assam Tribune, Dr Jharna Kumbang, who is working as a Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, Public Health England, said that despite the UK government taking all possible measures to control the outbreak of the disease, it has so far claimed over 400 lives. UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has introduced drastic new measures placing Britain in a form of lockdown to slow the coronavirus outbreak. �Stay at home� is the key message from the authorities.
Dr Kumbang, who did her primary medical education from Gauhati Medical College, said that people over 70 years of age, those with certain pre-existing medical conditions and pregnant women are at a higher risk of adverse health consequences should they contract the virus. A comprehensive list of people with serious medical conditions has been drawn up by the UK health department. The most notable of them are with severe lung and heart conditions, various cancers which reduce the immune system�s ability to fight infections, and kidney diseases on dialysis. She added that individual letters were sent to these very vulnerable people urging them to stay at home. At the same time, the local authorities have taken extensive steps to ensure these individuals have essential medicines and food at home, especially those with limited or no family support.
She warned that this will be an enormous challenge in countries where such records of at-risk people are unavailable. This will become more pronounced when these countries are put on lockdown.
Replying to a question, Dr Kumbang highlighted that rumour mongering is not a major issue in the UK in relation to Covid-19. People generally wait for the daily briefings and updates coming directly from the authorities. She also revealed that, so far to the best of her knowledge, there have been no report of any Assamese family living in the UK affected by the coronavirus.