Rajat Sharma

How callousness and flouting of guidelines can hamper our fight against Coronavirus

akb Today I want to share with you some instances of how Indians returning from abroad are trying to evade quarantine and are deliberately putting themselves and others at risk from the deadly Coronavirus. The first video relates to a group of Indian passengers returning from abroad and creating ugly scenes at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, when they were asked by airport and health care staff to go into quarantine.

These passengers not only protested but shouted slogans at security guards saying “Shoot Us, Kill Us”. Civil Aviation Minister Hardip Puri clarified that the incident took place a few days ago when compulsory quarantine for all incoming travellers from outside India was ordered. Puri said, the situation has now normalized. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, on Wednesday midnight went to Delhi airport to personally check quarantine facilities.

It is now time to change our mindset. Passengers all over the world are being subjected to health checks at airports. In airports across the globe, in London, New York, Beijing, Chicago and Texas, travellers silently stand in queues waiting for their turn for health check and quarantine. There was no point in creating a ruckus at the Delhi airport.

India has done phenomenally well in curbing the spread of Coronavirus in communities, because of timely action taken by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. World Health Organization has appreciated the efforts of our government. Coronavirus has spread in India only because of negligence and callousness on part of some Indians who came from abroad but jumped the quarantine, and mixed with others.

In Palghar, Maharashtra, passengers of Garib Rath Express, on Wednesday noticed four Indians having self-quarantine stamps on their arms. Railway authorities promptly deboarded them and they were taken to the district hospital for quarantine. These four persons had come from Germany and were going to Surat.

In another instance of callousness, the mother of a teenager, who had returned from UK and was tested positive for Coronavirus, came to the secretariat and met the Home Secretary, triggering a rush to identify all the people she came in contact with, including security personnel. The mother is a joint secretary level officer.

The Home Secretary, his wife, who happens to be the Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, 20 members of the staff were sent to 14 days’ self-quarantine. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her unhappiness over this serious lapse. The entire secretariat had to be sanitized. Banerjee said, there would be no discrimination on the basis of VIP or LIP (Less Important Person).

Extreme caution is the need of the hour. We must stop the Coronavirus from spreading. Everybody, whether he or she has come from abroad, or anybody who has come in contact with persons having virus symptoms must undergo 14 days’ self-quarantine and submit for tests.

The government is making all out efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Private firms have been given the nod to carry out Coronavirus tests and private hospitals have been asked to keep isolation wards ready. Almost all famous religious shrines, tourist spots like the Taj Mahal and Qutab Minar, schools, colleges, universities, hostels, cinema halls have been closed. This is the time for all of us to cooperate in our collective war against Coronavirus. Let India become a model for other countries to follow.

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