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SA doctor’s first-hand experience of India’s third wave

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A local medical practitioner who specialises in aesthetic medicine, Saumya Gautam, recently visited India during the height of its third wave.

Saumya Gautam went to visit her family in India for three weeks. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town – A local medical practitioner who specialises in aesthetic medicine, Saumya Gautam, recently visited India during the height of its third wave.

The Century City resident went to visit her family in Madhya Pradesh after she hadn’t seen them for over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After Gautam received her vaccine at Tygerberg Hospital in February, she decided to fly home last month and return to Cape Town on May 1.

Coincidentally, both her parents are doctors in India and they were vaccinated earlier this year.

However, before heading off, she did her RT-PCR Test which came back negative.

Gautam said: “Vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against Covid-19, and getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from the virus. Getting vaccinated is safer than getting infected.

“Vaccines train our immune system to recognise the targeted virus and create antibodies to fight off the disease without getting the disease itself. After vaccination, the body is ready to fight the virus if it is later exposed to it, thereby preventing illness.”

Upon her arrival in the southern Asian country, India went into lockdown due to the unexpected rise in Covid-19 cases.

“I have seen a very fresh wave of Covid cases. Lots of precautions were taken further in addition to old precautions. India went under lockdown again, except essential services.

’’Due to the sudden rapid increase of cases, there was a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies, for which our government of India is taking all possible measures and steps to curve it down.

“Many countries in the world are supporting India in the form of oxygen supplies, medicines, etc. Simultaneously, the Indian government has launched its already ongoing vaccinations program in a rapid way. From May 2021, all people above 18 years of age will be given vaccines,” she said.

At the time of publication, India had the second most Covid-19 cases in the world, behind with the US.

“I am more worried to see the people in extreme panic situations and living in fear of Covid. And due to an increase in testing many people are coming positive.

’’Covid is spreading very fast and things are getting stressful due to different variants of the virus. While the deadly virus has spared none, it’s impact on the poorer population has been way more devastating.

“On a positive note, people are recovering very well due to great services of doctors and paramedical staff and all Covid warriors. India is a very strong, spiritual, holy country. I know my country will soon recover from this pandemic. We all are strong in this together.

“Thanks to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi under whose leadership India is staying strong to fight against this pandemic. I would also like to thank from my heart to all the countries of the world who are supporting India during this time. I love my home country India,” Gautam said.

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