Medical staff walk through a disinfecting tunnel outside a hospital in Gurugram on Wednesday. Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO
The backlash against health care and sanitation workers and police personnel at the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has prompted the government to release a set of guidelines for the general public titled “Addressing Social Stigma Associated with Covid-19”.
The note also mentions the trend of people associating certain communities and areas with the disease, based on false reports , perhaps referring to the general targeting of Muslims in some parts of the country after around 426 of the 669 cases in Delhi were of people who attended a gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin in March.
However, the thrust of the advisory is to prevent the discrimination of health care and sanitary workers and remove misconceptions about the disease — and to point out that it is not patients’ fault that they got infected.
The advisory prescribes a list of dos and don’ts .
It asks them to appreciate the efforts of people providing essential services, share information authenticated by either the government, the ministry of health and family welfare, or the World Health Organisation, and share only positive stories.
It also asks them to avoid spreading the names and identity of those affected or under quarantine, and not target healthcare and sanitary workers or police.
“Sanitary workers and police are also doing selfless service and playing critical roles in addressing the challenge of COVID-19. They all deserve our support, praise and appreciation,” the advisory said.