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North Chennai residents face high risk in case of community transmission

CHENNAI: Despite the surge in coronavirus infected patients in India, although Tamil Nadu has fortunately remained largely unaffected, hundreds of residents of ‘polluted’ Manali area in North Chennai, face high risk in case of community transmission. Doctors say compromised lung function due to air pollution could lead to serious complications in patients affected by the latest pandemic.

Community transmission happens when a patient who is not exposed to anyone known to be infected and has not travelled to countries in which the virus is circulating, tests positive for infection. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Balram Bhargava said community transmission was ‘inevitable’, but India has a 30-day window.

Under such circumstances, places like Manali and Ennore, that are affected by dust and heavy metal pollution owing to the high concentration of polluting industries, oil refinery and thermal power plants, become immediate targets. There, however, is no connection between air pollution and COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Manali recorded 126, enough to cause breathing discomfort to the people with lung, asthma and heart diseases.

The prominent pollutant was PM 2.5, recording maximum of 231µg/m3 against the permissible limit of 60µg/m3. Doctors for Clean Air (DFCA) on Tuesday asked the members of the public, especially those who live in polluted urban centres and those who have pre-existing conditions of lung or heart diseases, to take extra precautions to maintain hygiene, social distancing and immediately seek medical help in case they show symptoms of cold, fever and breathlessness.

‘Take extra precaution’
DFCA asked the members of the public, especially those who live in polluted urban centres and those who have existing conditions of lung diseases, to take extra precautions to maintain hygiene

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