Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com
States are increasingly advising isolations at home for Covid-positive patients clinically assessed with ‘mild symptoms’, to curb the spread of the pandemic. This makes sense. But this begets a problem whose solution is sociological rather than medical. Indians stay not so much in accommodations about which the occupant can say, my home is my castle, as in flats or tiny structures in the midst of a crowd of similar structures. If the Covid patient’s home is stigmatised by the neighbours — reports abound of people stigmatising and boycotting medical personnel, not to speak of patients — the result could be acute distress. It is imperative to prevent stigmatisation of those infected, those who are pre-symptomatic and those cured, apart from of care givers and frontline health workers.
Stigmatisation defies the basic human virtue of empathy and could drive many to hide symptoms and eschew seeking immediate healthcare. This puts others at risk. Ostracism of healthcare workers or forcing them to stay away from home must stop. The onus squarely lies on residents welfare associations (RWAs) to ensure that there is no hostility towards those afflicted and their care givers. RWAs must form teams of healthy volunteers who can provide support to families in home isolation. Others can also offer to shop for groceries and medicines or provide food, if need be.
RWAs must ensure that those clearing the garbage wear gloves and masks, and sanitise common areas regularly. Housing complexes, just as airports, can instal ultraviolet tunnels to disinfect clothes, parcels, baggage and so on at entry gates, to kill virus colonies on the surface of parcels or baggage. Residents must pay for this, to protect their own health. A scientific temper is needed armour in the battle against Covid.