The novel coronavirus – with 53.6 million cases, at least 1.32 deaths and over 34.9 million recovered cases – is becoming a bottomless pit that sees no near end. India has already recorded over 8.81 million Covid-19 cases and 1.30 lakh deaths.
The virus spreads through respiratory droplets which usually travel about three to six feet and settles on various surfaces and it survives there for hours or several days. There is a risk of getting infected by those minute particulates if inhaled or when in contact by touching infected surfaces such as desks, stairs and door knobs etc.
Various governments throughout the world have stressed the importance of personal hygiene, social distancing and use of masks in public places to stop the spread of the virus. They have been issuing guidelines, safety protocols and remedial measures to educate and keep their citizens abreast of the situation.
The provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and keeping our surrounding clean is essential to protect ourselves during all such infectious outbreaks. One must also ensure to maintain good and consistent wash and waste management practices at home, communities and at public places, as such measures help to prevent human transmission of the virus.
The most efficient way to avoid being infected in such testing times is to be conscious about our hygiene and personal health seriously, as it is the first line of defence against the virus. The basic steps to follow and adapt simple personal hygiene measures are washing your hands often with soap and water, before and after eating and after going to the toilet. Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when there’s no provision to use soap and water. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or use a tissue when sneezing or coughing and make sure to dispose of the tissue safely immediately after use. Clean and disinfect the common surfaces such as doorknobs, table tops, desks also disinfect objects you use often such as mobile phones, keys, wallets etc, with a disinfectant product containing alcohol (of around 70 per cent).
To focus more on the water conservation and promote sustainable hygiene, News18 and Harpric India had launched the Mission Paani campaign last year, an initiative that has grown into a national platform to combine efforts towards the goals of better hygiene and water conservation. The Mission Paani initiative has helped disseminate best practices around the country, and become a unifying force between those who are leading the charge, and empowered individuals who want to contribute to the mission.
As part of the campaign, News18 will host a Jal Pratigya event on November 19, coinciding with Toilet Awareness Day, to be attended by former US vice-president and environmentalist Al Gore, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, actor Akshay Kumar, CEO of Reckitt Benckiser Laxman Narasimhan, music maestro AR Rahman, lyricist and censor board chairman Prasoon Joshi, and founder of World Toilet Organisation Jack Sim.