By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jun 28 : COVID-19 pandemic is a warning and a lesson nature is teaching humans to preserve and protect the degrading environment, said experts.
Attributing the novel coronavirus epidemic to climate change indirectly, Department of Environment and Climate Change, Deputy Director, T Brajakumar said the virus which started spreading first at the Wuhan province in China is extremely contagious and has claimed lakhs of lives around the world.
Besides COVID-19, the world may soon witness other severe natural calamities due to climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic can be considered a "warning" for many more disasters to come if climate change is not mitigated, he said.
The pandemic coupled with natural disasters such as cyclones, typhoons, floods, landslides and earthquakes etc, due to climate change, may prove to be even greater challenges for humankind. Assam, which is seeing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases is also facing floods in various parts.
This is a "testing time" for the world and its leaderships to face such disasters and come out victorious, he said.
As the virus continues to infect millions across the globe, the World Health Organisation had issued safety protocol and practices to be followed to avoid the virus.
Maintaining hygiene, washing hands, physical distancing norms and wearing of face masks are some of the practices that are being advised to the people at present to avoid the virus.
Further, to flatten the COVID-19 infection curve, countries have shut down their borders, transports, trade, factories, curbed social activities and large gathering of people, he said hinting that the COVID-19 has brought changes to the lifestyle of people. As WHO and Governments are stepping up their efforts to face the challenge at present, it is high time "we prepare ourselves" to face other worse disasters in future due to climate change. The COVID-19 may just be the beginning, he said. He also opined that "opening up of the lockdown too soon may send us back to where we started."
"We must find loopholes in the policies and improve our fight against this virus," he added.
COVID-19 Common Control Room spokesperson and Additional Director (Health) Dr Khoirom Sasheekumar Mangang also acknowledged that climate change "indirectly" has a role in the spread of the virus.
"Even though there is no scientific proof that suggests COVID-19 is born out of climate change, it has an indirect role in the spread. Due to climate change, people are forced to move to cities in search of jobs and livelihood and the number of COVID-19 cases is maximum in the cities with large population," he said. Shija Hospital's Managing Director Dr Kh Palin said the virus is spreading and infecting people irrespective of the temperature or climatic condition of a place-cold or hot. How the virus first entered the human host and infected it is still not known yet. Increased testing, active surveillance and isolation of the infected from the healthy are some of the effective strategies to contain the virus, he said.