Onset, Transmission, Impact, and Management of COVID-19
Epidemic at Early Stage in SAARC Countries
The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak had devastating consequences globally with 20,675,770 affected and 749,061 dead. Despite different measures to restrict transmission, the death toll continues to rise. The SAARC group of countries comprising eight nations—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, where 23.75% of the world population reside, implemented containment measures at different stages of the outbreak with varying consequences. In this review, we examined the onset and transmission of the virus in each country at an early stage and critically appraised their response with respect to their medical facilities for diagnosis and management. We found that countries that succeeded to contain the spread of COVID-19 were able to do so by prioritizing non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g. early and stricter lockdowns). Currently, the epicentre of COVID-19 appears to be shifting to India (the largest SAARC nation), the death toll is likely to steeply increase if effective and aggressive measures are not taken urgently. The authors believe that authorities of each of the SAARC countries should act decisively and cooperatively as a matter of urgency increasing the regional collaboration in an eloquent and durative way.