14 Mar 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID19): MYTH BUSTERS by the World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO has delcared Coronavirus situation as pandemic now with 142320 confirmed cases,5388 loss of precious lives affecting 129 countries so far.As Coronavirus is spreading throughout the world,there are several myths also popping up across.

Below are the few myth busters from WHO (World Health Organization):

  •    There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. 
  •    Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. 
  •   The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 cases. If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  •    To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.
  •     Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. 
  •    UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
  •     Thermal scanners are only effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

  •    Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.
  •     At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.
  •    Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and  Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.
  •     There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. 
  •   Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
  •    People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

  •    No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
  •    To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

10 Mar 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID19): Source,Spread,Symptoms,Healthy Habits & a Movie Contagion (2011)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) is spreading all around the world. As of today’s, reports, the global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100 000 and more than 3000 precious human lives lost due to this. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). Till date, it has affected around 90 countries worldwide. On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern. The epicenter of this spread is believed to be Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Vaccine and medications for this disease are yet to be invented though research is in full swing. It might take some more time. Till then precaution is the best bet against this disease.

Source and Spread of the Virus:
  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. 
  • The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a beta coronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea are the most affected nations as of now. In India, so far, we are lucky that we don’t have situation of severe community spread. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed.  The Government of India is trying their level best in containing this spread to the minimum. As a citizen, it’s very important that we shouldn’t be panic in this situation and rather help each other by taking the best possible precautions in our day to day lives.


Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Coronavirus:
  • Clean your hands with soaps/hand wash or hand sanitizers (having     alcohol >60%).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep     your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • If possible, stay home from workplace, school and crowded places when    you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty    of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
  • You may also avoid public transportation or else travel with full safety      measures in place like wearing facemasks  etc.
What to do if you are feeling sick or having doubts about health condition?
  • Immediately take proper medical care and you may also contact GOI 24*7 helpline number for further guidance by calling on +91- 11- 23978046 or by emailing to ncov2019@gmail.com.
  • Stay home and avoid public areas, crowded places.
  • You should restrict contact with pets and other animals also while you are sick with COVID-19.
  • Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. Please follow advice from your healthcare providers.


There could be a mere coincidence that a science fiction movie titled “Contagion” released in 2011 starring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne and others is having the very similar kind of situation which the world is currently experiencing due to Coronavirus. It's having very striking similarities of events. You may watch this movie on Amazon prime or on YouTube. You will be totally surprised for sure!

19 Sept 2016

Losing its lustre – The copper art of Ladakh

Ladakh is a land of stunning beauty. This Himalayan region has a unique landscape as it is the highest desert of the world, rain shadowed from rest of the Kashmir state. Until recently, Ladakh remained untouched and unexplored due to its remoteness. This allowed a variety of unique art and culture to evolve and flourish in the region.One such art is of handcrafting metals in Ladakh. No one can say for sure who introduced this art here but the artisans in villages of Ladakh have been doing this since centuries.

We went for a 6 days trip to Ladakh as part of an expedition by Mountain Homestays. We trekked through Himalayas visiting and staying in various village homestays. Our last village of stay was Tsogsty where we spent an entire day. Here we met a 65 year old metal artisan named Thetan Wangya, who has been practicing copper art since he was 25.

handcrafting metals in Ladakh
He has a very small workshop where he sits on a small cushion surrounded by all sorts of tools he uses for his work. He showed us a small coal fire and a blower that he uses to melt and shape the copper sheets. He also uses silver and zinc in his work.

handcrafting metals in Ladakh

He usually does this work in winters when due to cold weather outside he can’t do anything else. In summers he will have his farms to take care and also he works on his wooden products like showels etc which he sells to other farmers.

handcrafting metals in Ladakh

While talking about the challenges and effort of his work on metals Thetan ji mentioned us that the younger generation is not taking this art and it will die very soon. He showed us his art, the kettles that he makes, Each kettle usually takes 2-3 weeks of time. A lot of this work involves beating and shaping of metal sheets. And as the returns are less, the younger people prefer to travel to Leh and do some other better paying work.

handcrafting metals in Ladakh

On our further survey we found this village has only 2 copper artisans, both above 60yr old. The art has vanished from many villages of Ladakh and is now left only to 2 other villages. At one of the village, named Sumda Chenmo, there is only 1 artisan left. This data was very sad as we will be losing this age old heritage in next few decades if no steps are taken soon.

Many villages in Ladakh do not have electricity as of now. Thetan mentioned how having electricity can ease his work and also encourage the youth to stay in the village and embrace this art. With my team at Mountain Homestays we are also trying to find alternatives for these artisans to save this art. On one side we want to introduce some more designs and products that could be made without losing the essence of this art. On other side we plan to create a better market access for these products as well.

For any suggestions about improving this art and participating with us to save this heritage do write back to us: info@mountainhomestays.com

(Written by Gaganpreet Singh, a passionate adventurer and nature lover. He quit his corporate job to lead Mountain Homestays, with the vision to do community empowerment through ecotourism)