On 3rd August 2009, Monday, the swine flu death of Riya Sheikh, a fourteen year old school student from Pune’s Camp area shocked Pune and the entire country. It was the first case of swine flu death in India.
Till now we were casual about swine flu epidemic spreading in Western countries. Even occassional detection of swine flu in India did not panic us. Ria’s death only made us aware that swine flu virus can be contacted locally and is fatal. After her death panic gripped not only Pune but the entire country. As the swine flu virus named H1N1 was contagious, Schools, colleges, offices, shopping malls, multiplexes were shut down to avoid its spreading. The media became busy with discussions on this virus and its do’s and don’ts.
We were not allowed to go out of our houses by our parents. Whole city turned into a hospital with masked people all around. We were busy keeping our hands and surroundings clean. We had to study most of the day as our examinations dates were getting postponed. Television channels became score boards for swine flu cases and deaths. Long queues were reported outside hospitals for heath check-ups. Advertisements regarding various type of masks and health care centres replaced dress materials and shopping malls. Life became very boring.
Till today we are yet to recover from the threats of swine flu but the panic situation has eased out. We have become aware about maintaining personal hygiene more than ever. We now ensure to Keep our hands clean and germ free, cover our nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing, go to the doctor for regular health checkups, try to keep our surroundings clean and spread awareness about cleanliness.
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