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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 138-142

Epidemiological mapping and public mental health skills in preventing community spread of COVID-19 infection: A psychiatrist's perspective

Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital; Director, Government Rehabilitation Institute for Intellectual Disabilities, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. B S Chavan
Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh; Director of Government Rehabilitation Institute for Intellectual Disability (GRIID), Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_253_20

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After the report of the first case of COVID-19 in November 2019 from Hubei province of China, the disease took a pandemic form in a short span of 4 months, and the World Health Organization declared it as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. In India, the first case of COVID 19 was detected in Kerala on January 30, 2020, and by March 15, 2020, there were 107 cases. Fearing further spread, India declared complete lockdown from 24th March, 2020 initially for 21 days and it was further extended from time to time. The early curfew and lockdown by India has been successful in slowing the spread of infection. The other initiatives by the Government of India, namely closing the national and international airports, halting of public transport, screening of passengers coming from abroad, ramping up of testing facility, enforcing of social distancing, and wearing of masks, further reduced the rate of spread of COVID-19 infection. The most crucial component of the intervention by the institutions was tracking, testing, and treatment. For epidemiological mapping and contact tracing, the role of a mental health professional (MHP) as the leader is important during the early stages of prevention of COVID-19 infection. The MHPs are better equipped in contact tracing because of their skill in taking in-depth history, focusing on nonverbal cues during the session, early detection of denial of information, and they are better equipped in rapport building than their colleagues from other medical disciplines.

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