Rapid spread of swine flu claims 226 lives in India

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…As UNICEF is to tackle cyberbullying in Fiji***

The spread of H1N1 virus causing swine flu has claimed 226 lives in India so far this year.

Over 6,700 people have also been infected with the disease and undergoing treatment, official sources said on Thursday.

The situation is quite alarming compared to 2018, as 798 cases and 68 deaths were reported during the corresponding period of 2018.

“The majority of the deaths and infected cases have been reported from the states of Rajasthan and Haryana, and Delhi,’’ official sources added.

While 2,363 cases and 85 deaths were reported from Rajasthan, Delhi reported 1,011 cases, and around 43 deaths and 900 cases were reported from Haryana.

The sharpest spike was in last week ending Sunday which reported as many as 2,101 of the total cases.

Rajasthan state alone confirmed 507 cases and 49 deaths in the particular week, followed by Delhi with 456 cases.

Sensing the enormity of the spread of the disease, all the states have been advised to complete the procurement of required logistics for managing the seasonal influenza.

However, during crisis in states, the government of India is supplying logistics like drugs and face masks.

“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recommended vaccination for health care workers and other priority groups.

“The guidelines for influenza vaccination have been shared with all the states,’’ it added.

In the meantime, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says it will work with relevant authorities in Fiji to create awareness on cyberbullying.

On Thursday, the Pacific Representative of the UNICEF, Sheldon Yett, said that while they do not have exact numbers in Fiji, they are still aware that cyberbullying is an issue faced by young people in the island nation.

“UNICEF will work with Fijian stakeholders, specifically with communities from this year to make young people aware of this threat and how best it can be dealt with.

“Parents need to take a role but so do teachers, so do other community leaders, so do peers.

“Kids need to also look after themselves.

According to him, the internet is a fantastic tool for learning, for participation and for making sure that children’s voices can be heard.

“Ensuring the right of participation is there for children.

“But we also need to make sure that there are safeguards in place and we ensure that nothing is violated.

“Kindness both online and offline is a responsibility that begins with each individual,’’ Yett said.

Online Safety Commissioner, Anne Baleilevuka, said earlier that out of about 90 Fijians, who committed suicide in 2017, several people thought it was the better option due to something they had seen or read about themselves on social media.

Fiji’s Online Safety Commission is working towards building a relationship with key organisations in a bid to prevent suicides in Fiji.

Baleilevuka noted the sensitivities surrounding suicide cases and the impact of social media on suicide-related behaviour.

She said in the same year, seven cases of cyberbullying were reported to the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.