We must handle Corona cases with sensitivity

Updated: Apr 22, 2020, 07:11 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

While not every individual is at fault, there are some who fuel ostracism of the individual and their family. That is why there needs to be much greater sensitivity in handling these cases

This picture has been used for representational purposes
This picture has been used for representational purposes

This paper followed the curious case of a middle-aged woman from the western suburbs who was whisked away to a quarantine centre for Coronavirus by a team of BMC officials and workers. They claimed that they were acting on a complaint received from the Prime Minister's Office, refusing to elaborate about how the complaint came about. They claimed that guidelines barred them from divulging details about the complaint.

Imagine the shock of the person, who was forced to quickly pack a bag and taken away to a centre. Though the accommodation was clean and the woman had no quibble about the arrangements, it is extremely traumatic for anybody to be taken away in an ambulance, especially when they simply cannot fathom why they are considered at risk. The lady in question also claimed she had no travel history and has been home-bound since the lockdown began.

Officials have a stipulation that a person can be home quarantined. Since the woman in question had a good home, with facilities, they could have opted for home quarantine. Just a day later, she was tested negative and sent home. There is tremendous psychological stress when such an incident occurs. One must also take into account that suspected Coronavirus cases also find themselves facing stigma within the community. While not every individual is at fault, there are some who fuel ostracism of the individual and their family. That is why there needs to be much greater sensitivity in handling these cases.

One does acknowledge the tremendous work being done, including the very difficult task of contact tracing. Yet, human intelligence and wisdom being a big part of our fight, this must go along with policies and guidelines, rather than robotic reactions that exacerbate an already fraught environment.

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