COVID-19 pandemic: A call to look back into our tradition and recover collectively

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– R. Soundravel, Chairman and Chief Consultant Physician, Rajam Medical Centre and Hospital, Coimbatore

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a threat to the entire world early in 2020, the World Health Organisation, medical bodies in every county and experts urged people to follow some simple precautions to prevent the spread of the SARS CoV-2, the virus which causes the disease.

The basic precautions included: physical distancing, wearing of mask, hand washing and cleaning surfaces that are frequently being touched by people.

Though the current civilization achieved great heights including sending robotic helicopters to Mars, we stood completely helpless before a virus. The virus continues to pose a threat in the form of new variants.

The pandemic has taught us an important lesson that we should not forget the hygienic practices of our great old tradition.

If we look back into our culture, some of these practices were part and parcel of the lives of our ancestors which they followed for a healthy lifestyle.

People used to keep their houses, premises and public places clean and disinfect them using the available natural remedies including turmeric solution.

Hand washing was part of the personal hygiene of our ancestors who used to wash hands before entering houses after going out for various purposes.

When the pandemic struck the world, people were asked to maintain physical distancing and to avoid handshaking. It was our custom to say ‘namaskaram’ to show our respect to others from the olden days and we refreshed the habit during the pandemic.

In a nutshell, COVID-19 has taught us to brace some of our old traditions to stay away from a virus which claimed the lives of lakhs of people in India and worldwide.

The country and our State was forced to go into lockdowns as the virus spread fast mainly because people failed to follow these basic hygienic practices.

Doctors, nurses, health workers, police and staff from various government departments are still struggling to control the spread of COVID-19.

Community participation and social responsibility of individuals are important factors which can prevent further spread of the pandemic.

Though it is more than a year since the pandemic started, we are yet to understand the virus fully to design strategies and treatment protocols. New variants of the virus are getting reported from different parts of the world.

Hence, my appeal to the public on the occasion of the National Doctors’ Day is to follow the advice of the government and experts, spread humanity and empathy in the time of distress and embrace our traditional values for a complete recovery from the pandemic as a community together.

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