It is human to shun discomfort. Even in our luxury beds, we toss many times before we settle with our blankets and pillows! I set out this illustration to bring home how people fear the discomfort of the “quarantine” now. Yes, they fear exactly like a small child fears the cold water while taken for a bath in the winter season.
If I am not wrong, amid the rise of COVID cases, many people want to “voluntarily” come forward for the COVID test, particularly when they feel they have mingled with the unknown crowds. But they do now “hesitate” to go for the test for many reasons. The foremost being that the medical authorities might issue them a chit. They, in fact, utterly shudder at being asked to be locked-up in quarantine even if their tests come out negative. One wonders how some cold and cough should not be categorized as a COVID-19 --- or a must for quarantine as is reported.
Frankly speaking, such measures practiced in many states have awfully “discouraged” people to put up a fight against the virus. Needless to say, the quarantine always involves a whole lot of hassles, incidental expenditures and sacrifices. This is always unsettling for the weaker section of people; many can’t think of leaving the job aside and go for the isolation. Moreover, what is so important that one has to compulsorily remain in quarantine if he/she tested negative? Who will feed the bunch of children when the bread-winner father is sent into the quarantine coop? One feels it is just “overdoing”.
However, one agrees that we should not protest the “instant order” for isolation even if a COIVD-positive patient turns negative in a few days. In that case, he/she must completely follow all COVID procedures with the utmost care. Well, we still have a very long way to go before we bring COVID to its knees. So, why does the Government not try to win the “confidence” of the citizens from all walks of life? Each individual, regardless of his status, caste and creed, can be a “potential carrier” of the virus. So, the authorities should be able to call out one and all for the support without sounding alarm bells. The best would be if the authorities concerned can humor up the people at large and invite those who might have been suspected of being infected with Covid-19.
The test privacy should be maintained because all people may not like their neighbors making a face at him, COVID stigmatization is still prevalent in the society. But if they test negative then they must be “allowed” to carry on with their jobs with all gusto of positivity. Let them also be awarded the certificates with a pat on their backs. Because their “coming out” itself matters a lot now and that serves our greater purpose.
(A Shillong-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled ‘Great Minds on India’ which has earned worldwide appreciations. Translated into Twelve languages, his book has been prefaced by a world-acclaimed NASA Chief scientist – Dr. Kamlesh Lulla of Houston, USA)