Stigma around COVID-19 is causing further damage in Ggm

Gurugram: While Gurugram continues to be the worst-affected COVID-19 district in Haryana, the fear and stigma attached to the contagious disease are adding to the concerns of the city's residents and its public officials.

On Saturday, a security guard died in Gurugram's Sushant Lok after he shot himself with his licensed gun. The extreme step was taken by the guard because he allegedly feared that he had contracted the infection after his owner and family had tested positive for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 test reports for the guard are awaited. In the last few months, this is one among many incidents in the city where professionals, menial and blue-collar workers have either hidden or worse, taken their own lives after having tested positive for the novel Coronavirus or after fearing that they had been


Recently, a private hospital nurse from Kerala in her early 20's also took her own life after she had tested positive. Prior to this, a man in his late 50s also killed himself after his wife who was facing other health issues got contracted COVID-19.

It is not only patients taking their lives that is now fast becoming a part of the problem around COVID-19.

According to health officials, a large number of people suffering from the contagious disease are deliberately not coming out and reporting symptoms or confirmed test reports.

There are also reports that 69 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 had gone missing as they had provided wrong information about themselves to the private laboratories where they had got tested. Also, the blunder of not properly registering the patients also came at a time when proper standards and procedures were not laid down for patients under the home quarantine.

It is believed that this coupled with improper contact tracing procedures led to the eventual transfer of Gurugram's Chief Medical Officer Dr JS Punia.

Stricter norms have been placed since then to properly register the patients. Directives have also been given to private hospitals for maintaining proper records of the patients.

A large number of COVID-19 patients, especially those from Khandsa Vegetable wholesale market also ran away from quarantine centres before being apprehended by law enforcement officials.

According to officials, one major reason why there is so much fear among citizens in reporting the disease is because of apprehensions that the infections or having been infected could affect their employment prospects.

Menial workers seem to face the major brunt of it. Most residents have still not started calling their domestic workers back to work, resume the services of their drivers and even newspaper deliveries out of fear that they would catch the infection.

To address the concerns, fear and stigma attached to COVID-19, the district administration has planned to start a helpline for counselling patients and their worried relatives.

"You should not fear the disease but be more careful in not contracting the disease by taking proper precautions. More than 80 per cent of the cases in Gurugram are the ones in which the patients show mild symptoms and can recover quickly," said an official from the District Health Department.

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