Ebola threat: JK forms 8-member ‘crisis management’ panel

Srinagar: The J&K government Thursday constituted an eight-member ‘crisis management’ committee to deal with any outbreak of Ebola virus which has claimed over 5000 lives across the globe in the past few months.
Headed by Chief Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, the members of the committee include Principal Secretaries of Planning & Development, Finance, Home departments as well as Director General of Police.
Besides, the high-level panel also includes Commissioner Secretaries of Revenue, Health and Medical Education (member secretary) and Secretary Rural Development &Panchayat Raj as members.
Being one of the favorite tourist destinations, Kashmir could be vulnerable to outbreak of the Ebola virus. The virus is one of five known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus and four of them known ebolaviruses, including EBOV, which cause a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans and other mammals, known as Ebola virus disease (EVD).
In August this year, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) raised an alarm against the disease and said the government was not “fully prepared” to deal with such pandemics.
The DAK, one of the biggest groups of government doctors in the Valley, said the state has an obligation to protect its population from any public health emergency.
“Pandemics are unpredictable and advanced planning is critical to mitigate their impact, which is human loss and socioeconomic disruption,” the DAK said and had also called for involvement of society to deal with the pandemics.
The largest outbreak of the Ebola virus to date is the ongoing epidemic in West Africa, which is centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Soon after the outbreak of the virus, some countries cancelled flights and others have issued travel advisory to cancel unnecessary travel to the affected regions.
According to DAK, International Health Regulations (IHR) acts as a tool for pandemic preparedness and response while WHO is the legitimate body to declare pandemic and provide guidance to formalize plans
“States are legally bound to implement IHR regulations of capacity building and response capacities to protect people from international spread of disease,” the DAK said.