The Daily Dose Asia: Indian officials dispel notion that non-vegetarian food causes coronavirus infection

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COVID-19 hotspots are appearing around the world with discouraging regularity. Spain has been the latest country to experience a spike in cases. As of today, the Iberian Peninsula accounts for 5,344 confirmed cases of COVID-19. On the other hand, China continues to show improvement. As per the Associated Press, “Spain prepared to declare a state of emergency on Saturday and Italy tightened its lockdown by closing down parks, while Denmark and Poland became the latest countries to shut their borders to most travelers in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. As European countries took ever more severe, though widely varying, measures to reduce contact between their citizens and slow the pandemic, China — where the virus first emerged late last year — continued to ease up lockdown measures in its hardest-hit region.”

Even as China gradually returns to normalcy, the coronavirus continues to have an impact on industry, only now in the form of international orders for face masks. According to Caixin Global, suppliers are turning down orders now because their factories are unable to meet the sudden skyrocketing demand. This is unwelcome news for countries currently struggling to treat COVID-19 patients and grappling with supply shortages.

Japan has been teetering on the brink of a wider outbreak, but so far, they’ve been able to prevent significant spikes like the one experienced by South Korea. There are concerns, however, that shortages are beginning to appear. In this case, health experts are concerned with a “last-resort” treatment for COVID-19 cases known as extracorporeal membrane oxygen. As per the Japan Times, “There are upwards of 1,300 ECMO machines available in the country, according to a survey released in March by the Japanese Society of Respiratory Care Medicine and the Japan Association of Clinical Engineers. But only about 300 of these machines are available for treating COVID-19, said Satoru Hashimoto, the director of intensive care medicine at the hospital of the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine.”

COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Southeast Asia. “Malaysia reported 41 new cases of the new coronavirus on Saturday (Mar 14), most linked to a religious event on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur that was attended by about 10,000 people from several countries. The new cases bring the total number of cases in the country to 238. The religious event had drawn about 16,000 participants, a majority of whom were Malaysians.”

The Philippines joined Malaysia as the other ASEAN nation experiencing surging COVID-19 infections. The Duterte government announced new measures designed to contain the outbreak. As per ABS-CBN News, “The curfew in Metro Manila is likely to begin Monday, a day after the capital region goes under community quarantine to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Saturday.” Unfortunately, like most lock-down announcements in other countries, citizens flooded out of the capital before the quarantine deadline.

And finally, proving that there are always cultural aspects to containing or mitigating the effects of a pandemic, public health officials in India are having to dispel widespread COVID-19 misinformation. As per the Time of India, “Coronavirus is an infection that spreads mainly from person-to-person and consumption of non-vegetarian food or eggs does not cause the infection, according to director, AIIMS, Delhi, Dr Randeep Guleria. “As common healthcare precaution, all kinds of meat should be thoroughly washed and properly cooked,” said the AIIMS director.”

That’s it for today. Let’s be safe out there.

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