Stigma makes recovery for coronavirus patients

With nearly 80% of Covid patients in home isolation, many are harassed by neighbours who want them to be shifted to a hospital

Published: 13th July 2020 10:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2020 10:04 AM   |  A+A-

GHMC authorities set up barricades restricting entry during Bonalu festival in some parts of Hyderabad Old City. (Photo | RVK Rao)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The social stigma associated with Covid-19 has made recovery difficult for patients in home isolation. With nearly 70 to 80 per cent of the infected people in home isolation across Telangana, many are being harassed by neighbours, who want them to be shifted to a hospital or a government quarantine facility. Sometimes, the situation turns so grave that the patients are forced to take police’s help to reason with their neighbours.

“I tested positive for Covid-19 in June. As I had mild symptoms, I was asked to be in home quarantine and avail the telemedicine facility. But my neighbours, who did not have a problem with this at first, grew suspicious when I ordered for oxygen cylinders,” Kabeer Khan, who recovered from the highly contagious disease, said. His neighbours demanded that he be shifted to a hospital as they feared contracting the virus. “We had to inform the police, who were already in touch with me. They had to intervene,” he said.

In another case, a resident of Padma Rao Nagar was evicted from his rented apartment by his landlord after he contracted Covid-19. “My owner wanted me to leave the flat with my family, without notice. I asked the police to intervene because it posed a threat to my life,” the patient, who is in recovery, said.
The United Federation of Residents Welfare Association (UFRWA), too, has been receiving complaints and concerns over the Covid-19 cases in residential areas.

“Residents are pressuring the executive members of RWAs to not only get the patient shifted, but also enforce a mini-lockdown and shut shops. We are making them aware about home quarantine being a valid treatment protocol vetted by the ICMR and WHO,” U Sreenivas of UFRWA said. He further explained that the lack of testing and poor response from hospitals has added to the fear psychosis.

Meanwhile, patients urged the government to sensitise and destigmatise Covid-19. “If people are dying, another majority is also recovering. The government should emphasise this and destigmatise home treatment. The local GHMC officials should also sanitise the building and counsel the residents,” Kabeer said.

8 more die of Covid, toll crosses 350

Telangana recorded 1,269 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, from the 8,153 samples tested, taking the tally to 34,671. Also, eight people died of the disease, increasing the statewide toll to 356.

The mortality rate now stands at 1.02 per cent. Majority of Sunday’s cases, 800, were reported from the GHMC area followed by Rangareddy with 132 and Medchal with 94. However, what’s more concerning is that fact that 25 other districts recorded a spike in cases.

Sangareddy has 36 cases, followed by 23 each in Karimnagar and Nagarkurnool. The active cases are at 11,883 as 1,563 patients were discharged on the day. The recoveries are at 22,482 individuals in Telangana. Meanwhile, the Health Department stated that they have 1,356 ICU beds and 2,926 oxygen beds available


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