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Indian Scientists Issue Statement on Pandemic, Call for ‘Cooperation’, ‘Humanity’

Indian Scientists Issue Statement on Pandemic, Call for ‘Cooperation’, ‘Humanity’

A group of scientists from around India have released a statement on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, outlining what they call their “considered opinion on the situation”, include “recommendations for public agencies, local authorities and the general public”, and finally “highlights how scientists are volunteering across the country to fight this pandemic”. They conclude writing, “We urge reasoned, logical planning and action, cooperation among all stakeholders and above all, compassion and humanity in dealing with one other in this time of grave humanitarian crisis.”

The statement is presented in full below, followed by the list of signatories. Some paragraphs have been broken up to render them more legible.


We, a group of scientists and members of the Indian academic community, welcome the decision of the Indian Government to implement a 21 day national lockdown to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The disease, also being referred to as COVID-19 and spread by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), appears to have a significant mortality rate and has already afflicted close to half a million people worldwide and about 775 in India (as of March 28, 2020).

While the number of coronavirus afflicted persons in India is still relatively low, based on evidence from other countries, we believe that stringent and early mitigation strategies are key to avoid a full-scale, out-of-control pandemic in the nation – which is a distinct possibility. We urge all sections of the Indian population to respect the decisive, early action by the Indian Government, and cooperate in its implementation by diverse state government and central agencies.

Considering the possibility of an extended lockdown, disproportionate risks to certain care givers and essential service personnel, we urge the government and state agencies to introduce several measures to prepare the nation during the current lockdown phase. In the desirable situation of not having to prolong this lockdown, these measures will help the nation improve its preparedness for similar epidemics, pandemics or other natural disasters.

We recommend steps to enhance testing, contact-tracing, isolating and quarantining possible carriers. We recommend that all essential service providers, including but not limited to doctors, supporting health care personnel such as nurses, police personnel, emergency workers, supply chain personnel and government officials dealing with the pandemic in their organisations or in the field should be provided with appropriate safety gear. These personnel should be periodically tested for SARS-CoV-2 even if they are asymptomatic. We request the population to cooperate with and be compassionate towards these essential service providers to ensure these basic services are not disrupted.

There have been reports of vigilantism, misbehaviour and violence directed against essential service providers and individual citizens or families out to access emergency and essential services. We strongly discourage such vigilantism. Violence and excessive force must be shunned and compassionate action must be practiced while everyone adjusts to this unprecedented and unfamiliar situation. We, however, encourage increased vigilance by local police authorities to ensure the protection of essential supply chains and the rights of individuals to access essential services and emergency transport during the lockdown.

We thank the government for rolling out a package to daily wage earners, homeless, urban and the rural poor, etc., in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis. We recommend local government officials in different states and districts to constitute local task-forces to ensure a smooth supply chain pipeline for essential services such as food, grocery, medicine and shelter, particularly for the poorer sections of the society and stranded migrant workers.

We recommend that a national disaster-risk management plan be prepared and implemented in all states to test for the coronavirus and accommodate more patients. As already demonstrated, convention halls, empty hotels, enclosed stadiums may be quickly converted to set-up emergency isolation wards and temporary medical facilities. We recommend that testing facilities be rapidly enhanced to detect SARS-CoV-2 in every region of the country. Ideally, no primary health care centre should be more than 100 km away from a SARS-CoV-2 testing centre in the country. Maximum care must be taken to maintain large-scale water supply and sewerage systems. This will prevent the growth of other epidemics while dealing with this pandemic.

At this time when both governmental as well as individual decisions and actions must be based on well-established scientific norms, protocols, logic and reason, we urge the general public to not get influenced by any pseudoscientific proclamations about miracle cures, hoaxes and myths. We also urge individual citizens to not hoard medicines such as antibiotics. No individual should consume any controlled medicine swayed by media reports or social media messages. Medical attention and medicine must only be sought from qualified medical practitioners and authorised hospitals.

A very large number of students in schools and in academia are suddenly finding themselves under prolonged lock-down at home. To the extent possible, we encourage schools and academic institutions to engage with these students online or through other innovative means to keep them interested in academic and intellectual activities. Studies show that mentally and physically healthy individuals are better able to cope with medical issues. Therefore, along with intellectual stimulation, we also recommend at least a bare minimum physical activity be practiced during this time.

In this time of crisis, many Indian scientists from various organisations have come together to support the action against the spread of the coronavirus. Scientists and engineers are working on establishing statistical trends, epidemiological modelling of disease spread, development of testing kits, masks, hand sanitisers, low cost ventilators, repurposing of drugs and finding a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

During this lockdown we request the government to keep those research laboratories operational which are working at the forefront of finding a cure or managing the disease. Many scientists are involved in spreading social awareness about the disease, and warning against dangerous hoaxes and myths that mislead the population. We urge the government to take advantage of resources and expertise available within the scientific community for spreading general social awareness and request the scientific community to assist the government and public agencies when called upon.

History shows that in the face of major epidemics, scientific breakthroughs in medicine followed by vaccinations have saved humanity, time and again. We believe we shall eventually find a cure for SARS-CoV-2. In the meantime, we urge reasoned, logical planning and action, cooperation among all stakeholders and, above all, compassion and humanity in dealing with one other in this time of grave humanitarian crisis.

List of signatories

(Individuals are signing in their personal capacities)

Sutirth Dey, IISER Pune\
Aurnab Ghose, IISER Pune\
Gautam Menon, Ashoka University\
Dibyendu Nandi, IISER Kolkata\
R. Ramanujam, Institute of Mathematical Sciences\
LS Shashidhara, Ashoka University\
Rahul Siddharthan, Institute of Mathematical Sciences\
K. Muralidhar, IIT Kanpur\
Sonali Sengupta, University of Delhi\
Madhav Ranganathan, IIT Kanpur\
Tanvi Arora, CSIR-NGRI, Hyderabad\
Dhiraj Kumar Hazra, IMSc, Chennai\
Guruswamy Kumaraswamy, IIT Bombay\
Kamal Lodaya\
Golam M Hossain, IISER Kolkata\
Amit Kuber, IIT Kanpur\
Reeteka Sud, NIMHANS\
Amith K\
Sudhira H S, Gubbi Labs\
Rajani KS, Gulbarga University, Dept of Biotechnology\
Shashi Thutupalli, NCBS\
Mohan R, Indian Statistical Institute Bangalore Centre\
Pradipta Bandyopadhyay, Indian Statistical Institute\
Vishwesha Guttal, Indian Institute of Science\
Somnath Basu, IISER Kolkata\
Divya Oberoi, NCRA-TIFR, Pune\
POOJA MANMOHAN VAID, Ashoka University\
Tuli Dey, SPPU\
Satyaki Mazumder, IISER Kolkata\
TV Venkateswaran\
Aniket Sule, HBCSE-TIFR, Mumbai\
Dhruba J Saikia, IUCAA\
Varun Bhalerao, IIT Bombay\
Vivek Hari Sundar G, National Centre for Biological Sciences – TIFR\
Ravinder Banyal, IIA, Bangalore\
Pravina Jani\
SOUVIK ROY, Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India\
Aveek Sarkar, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad\
Arijit Ghosh, Krystal Ball\
saurabh bansal\
Ayan Banerjee, IISER Kolkata\
Lakshmi.S.Mohan NCBJ, Warsaw\
Kaustav Chakraborty, Physical Research Laboratory\
Rahul Kumar, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad\
Arnab Bhattacharya, TIFR\
Prashanth N Srinivas, Institute of Public Health Bengaluru\
Gururaja KV, Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology\
Arabinda Chaudhuri, IISER Kolkata\
T R Govindarajan, Emeritus, IMSc, Chennai\
Kaustuv Sanyal, JNCASR\
Abinaya R, IISER Pune\
Bhalchandra Pujari, Savitribai Phule Pune University\
SOUMIK SAO, California, Riverside\
V Madhurima\
Nagaraj Balasubramanian, IISER, Pune\
Debayan Gupta, Ashoka University\
Ruchi S. Kumar, Tata Institue of Social Sciences\
Vinod Kumar Badireddy, GHCCD, Visakhapatnam\
Jayashree Ramadas\
Soumitro Banerjee, IISER Kolkata\
SN Hasan, MANUU\
Arun Kumar, Institute of Social Sciences\
Durba Sengupta\
Nimish Shah, Toilet Board Coalition\
Arghya Mukherjee, Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India, IISER Kolkata\
Prashant Biradar, IISER PUNE\
Arunabha Adhikari, West Bengal State University\
Prasanna R Iyer\
Subhaprada Nishtala, Association of Food Scientists and Technologists\
Jayashree Vadhyar, Unilever India\
Sayam Sen Gupta, IISER Kolkata\
Krishna Datta, AFST\
Chhavi Mathur, IISER, Pune\
Bidisha Sinha, IISER Kolkata\
Tamal Kanti Das\
Nagarjuna G, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education\
Preeti Nema, IISER – Pune\
Subhankar Ghosh, St. Xavier’s College Kolkata\
Ananda Dasgupta, IISER Kolkata\
Aparna Joshi, IISER PUNE\
Raghunath Tewari, IIT Kanpur\
Shah vidhi\
Ranjit Nambisan\
Sudha Rajamani, IISER Pune\
Pushkar Sohoni, IISER Pune\
Nishad Matange\
Rahul Chopra, Ashoka University\
Sauvik Roy, IISER Kolkata\
Sushant S Mahajan, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii\
Bhargav Vaidya, IIT Indore\
Ajit Kembhavi, IUCAA, Pune\
Chirag Dhara, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology\
Braja Gopal Bag\
Vandana R V, Max Planck Institute, Germany\
Harsh Chaturvedi, IIT Guwahati\
Koushik Dutta, IISER, Kolkata\
Abhishek Kumar Srivastava, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU)\
Megha Nivsarkar, IISER Pune\
Balbeer Singh, Physical Research Laboratory\
Souvik Saha, Institute of mathematical sciences\
Yogesh Jain, Public health physician, Jan Swasthya Sahyog, Chhattisgarh\
Sanjeev Galande\
Chandi Prasad Nanda, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack\
Nisha Gupta\
Urmishree Bedamatta, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack\
Dr. Amresh Mishra, Medical officer Ravenshaw University\
Chaitanya. Ravi, Flame University\
Lipika Patnaik, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack\
Narayan Banerjee, IISER Kolkata\
Pranesh Chowdhury, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan\
Dr Gurudatta Baraka, centre for human genetics, bengalore\
Abhik Jash, Weizmann Institute of Science\
Mihir Arjunwadkar, Center for Modeling & Simulation, SP Pune University\
Prof R K Soni, Department of Chemistry, Chaudhary Charan Singh University Meerut\
Vinod Kumar Garg, Central University of Punjab\
Pradeep Rawat, RNA Pune\
Jacob Mathew, Association of Designers of India\
Durgesh Tripathi, IUCAA, Pune\
Prasad Pathak, FLAME University\
Sandeep Ameta, NCBS\
Manoj Kumar\
Vaishali Shah, Savitribai Phule Pune University\
Ajay Nandgaonkar\
Amit Ghosal\
Charuhansini, NCBS\
Urmila Kulkarni-Kale, Savitribai Phule Pune University\
Lekshmi B, IISER Kolkata\
Rustam Vania, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology\
Dr C S Sumathi\
Surajit Sengupta, TIFR\
VEDHAGIRI KUMARESAN, Central Research Institute, (MoHFW) Kasauli\
Malini Sundar Rajan, Anna University, Chennai\
B. Sundar Rajan, India Institute of Science, Bangalore\
Dr Siba Sankar Sahu, Ravenshaw Universe\
Avishek Basu, NCRA-TIFR\
AYAN BISWAS, National Centre for Radio Astrophysics- TIFR\
Amit Ghosal\
Partha Majumder\
Pratap Raychaudhuri, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai\
Dilip Govind Kanhere, SPPU Pune\
T V Ramakrishnan, Distinguished Associate, IISc Bangalore\
Shri Singh, Distinguished Professor, Physics Dept., BHU, Varanasi\
Ravindra B\
Ritesh Singh, IISER Kolkata\
Nirmalya Ghosh, IISER Kolkata\
Swagata Sarkar, CBS, Mumbai\
Prajval Shastri\
S R PRABAGARAN, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore\
Madhura Kulkarni, Center for Translational Cancer Resesrch. Pune\
R Thiru, Senthil Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai\
Malavi Sengupta\
Chandan Dasgupta, Indian Institute of Science\
Parswa Nath, TIFR Hyderabad\
R. Geeta, None – Chennai\
Venkatesh Raman, IMSc Chennai\
Karthick Balasubramanian, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune\
Gadadhar Misra, Indian Institute of Science\
P. Chandra\
Sujata Ghosh, ISI Chennai\
T R Govindarajan\
Deborshi Chakraborty, IISER Kolkata\
Srikanth Sastry, JNCASR, Bengaluru\
Sushanta Kumar Mondal, Sidho Kanho Birsha University\
Suchetana Chatterjee\
Soumya Chakravarti\
Saikat Ghosh, IIT Kanpur\
Prateek Sharma, Indian Institute of Science\
TS Ganesan\
Sarika M. Bhattacharyya, CSIR- National Chemical Laboratory\
Anirban Kundu, University of Calcutta\
Dr. Ravi Hiremagalore, Centre for human genetics and manipal hospitals\
Kanan Kumar Datta, Presidency University, Kolkata\
Dr.Debojyoti Moulick, Assam University\
Dipankar Banerjee\
Gautam Gangopadhyay, University of Calcutta\
Khirod Kumar Sahoo, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack\
Nixon Abraham, IISER Pune\
G C Anupama\
Hemaprabha, IISc alumni\
Vinayak Kamble, IISER Thiruvananthapuram\
Mahaveer kumar jain, IIT Madras\
Abhirup Datta, IIT Indore\
Suman Chatterjee\
Sk. Saiyad Ali, Jadavpur University\
Atrideb Chatterjee, NCRA-TIFR\
Monodeep Chakraborty, IIT KHARAGPUR

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