BENGALURU: “The fear of stigma and being ostracised is driving people away from getting tested for Covid-19,” said Dr K S Satish, president, Karnataka Association of Pulmonologists, member Covid expert committee. “People are refusing to get tested because of the horror they have to go through if they test positive.
Their house is sealed and the road in front of their house is barricaded by the civic authorities. The Red Alert poster pasted at the entrance of their house/apartment further aggravates fear and ostracisation. This is not the practice anywhere else in the world,” said Dr Satish. He added that people should also act responsibly and not shy away from being tested for Covid-19. “They should not be afraid because it’s not a killer virus. India’s recovery status is very good, and our case fatality is one of the best in the world,” he said.
A Covid warrior in Rajajinagar-Mahalakshmi Layout area, who didn’t wish to be identified, has been put to immense inconvenience after both his parents tested positive and the BBMP sealed his house. “I have tested negative, but I am finding it difficult to go to my hospital because BBMP has barricaded the road in front of my house. I cannot take out my car and am forced to use public transport. I had to admit my parents in a hospital because I can’t risk keeping them at home,” said the frontline Covid healthcare worker.
“Barricading of roads is unscientific and does not arrest the spread of the virus. When I spoke to my ward health officer, he said that the rules were being implemented under the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA) and we have to abide by them,” he added. According to noted immunologist and rheumatologist Dr Chandrashekhar S, “People are not scared of getting an HIV test done though there is a moral stigma to the life-long disease. But they don’t want to get tested for Covid-19.
This should not be the case. The government should allay public fears and encourage people to come out for testing. Testing and early medical intervention will help us manage Covid-19 better rather than the fear, which is driving people away from being tested.” “The BBMP should come up with positive measures, which will encourage people to go for testing. This will prevent the delayed presentation of Covid-19 disease, which is one of the prominent reasons for the high mortality rate in the State,” said Dr Satish.