Emerging need to expand the ‘Test, Trace, Treat’ strategy to tackle Covid – 19

Earth fighting with Covid-19 (Source:Twitter)

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
~ R. Buckminster Fuller.

Our world is still fighting the egregious Corona virus even after being months since it was discovered. During these hard times some success stories like New Zealand, South Korea, Kerala etc. emerged as prevailing models in fighting this deadly virus. They used a plan of vigorously implementing the ‘Triple T’ technique consisting of Test, Track and Treat which was even backed by the World Health Organisation.

While New Zealand was able to claim that it had eliminated the transmission of the virus, others following this model were able to limit the same to small numbers. These success stories happened due to their effective implementation techniques combined with huge restrictions imposed on their people. 

These accomplishments encouraged other governments also to follow the same path to control this pandemic. This is evident from the recent five-point blueprint laid out by the Delhi government to contain the virus. Testing, Tracing and Tracking were some of the major steps reiterated again and again by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. 

According to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UK also plans to execute the same kind of system to reduce the number of cases. So far this technique is considered the most fruitful one while the world strives to find a vaccine as a long term remedy.

Then again comes a time where we have to reflect on the effectiveness of such methods. Even though this technique was able to mitigate the concerns at first, the mounting numbers in the present scenario call for a method which adapts to the evolving conditions. Just weeks ago South Koreans were celebrating their victory over the virus, so were the people of  New Zealand and Kerala. 

But the infections started to surge after the constraints were eased, threatening the success of these models. Despite the steady inflow of expatriates to these states, the sloppiness in executing effective mechanisms like social distancing exacerbated the situation.

David Clark resigned from his post as New Zealand's health minister once the virus re-emerged Source: BBC News

Every affected country in the world has started to slacken its restrictions owing to the pressure from plunging economies and public outcries. India started its journey back from restrictions on the 1st of June while other countries started this phase long back. 

The number of infections is still going uphill while the government is increasing the number of tests and treatment facilities. This validates the need to formulate such a strategy, where the effectiveness of the existing ‘Triple T’ solution can be raised high.

This conundrum can be solved only by inviting the participation of people to ward off this virus while the government actively follows the ‘Test, Track and Treat’ procedure. The public should be made aware of the necessity to follow instructions like social distancing, wearing masks etc. 

The authorities along with different organisations should offer the opportunities for people to cleanse themselves for breaking the chain. This pedagogy of involving people has its own merits like adding more transparency and more manpower in the fight against this pandemic.

This pragmatic approach also suits well, in the time of unlock phase as it doesn’t deter people from their daily life and duties. We have seen how society reacts to imposing of lockdown and restrictions. Anti-lockdown protests arose in several countries like the USA, Australia or even in New Zealand itself.

 But this suggested method takes a U-Turn from making people sit at home but to come out by accepting the necessary precautions. The disadvantage of this method is that the success of such technique depends entirely on active participation and dedication of people. 

Then again we have a fair amount of examples from history that the public responds well to instructions once they are made aware of its gravity.    

One of the Anti-lockdown protests in America Source: dw news

When we search for more evolved ways for tackling the Covid-19, we cannot ignore the case of Japan which has managed to control this situation without imposing any such restrictions or lockdown measures.

Japan decided to prioritize in breaking the chain formed from initial clusters by rigorous contact tracing, which helped them to overcome their disadvantage of finite testing capacity.

Also to avoid unnecessary strain on hospitals and beds, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) recommended that patients without any underlying conditions be kept at home and the testing capacity to be focused on people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients along with older persons with underlying conditions.

It is time to recognise that we need an effective exit strategy, rather than being shackled for eternity. This phenomenon is being adopted globally by countries like Sweden, as echoed by its adoption of a mitigation strategy compared to a contaminant strategy. 

We have to understand that testing, tracking and treating is just a small part of the different comprehensive crisis management activities. The authorities are not needed to reduce the number of testing nor deviate from their methods, but they have to expand it for the evolving combat. 

This is the new normal of our world and we have to realize that the Coronavirus is here to stay.

 

1 thought on “Emerging need to expand the ‘Test, Trace, Treat’ strategy to tackle Covid – 19”

  1. Bhadresh Harikant

    Very informative, man. The way you encompassed all the strategies adopted across the globe. Very well backed proposition, I like it.

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