No posters outdoors homes of remoted sufferers will assist cut back COVID-19 stigma: Consultants

New Delhi, October 9

The Delhi government’s decision to do away with the practice of pasting cautionary posters outside the homes of people infected with COVID-19 and isolated inside, will help reduce the stigma attached to the disease, experts said on Friday. However, they also said this has some “disadvantages too”.

Official sources had said on Thursday that there will be no sticking of posters outside the houses of COVID-19 patients under home-isolation in the national capital. They had said the move is aimed at “minimising the stigma” resulting from affixing of such posters at the front portion of the houses of such patients.

Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Apollo Hospitals here, termed it a very “positive move”.

“I think this will help in reducing the stigma people have attached to COVID-19. There is so much stigma that one patient today came to my clinic from all the way from Bihar for a check-up. He feared he had the infection, but his family never got him tested and he just isolated himself back in Bihar,” he said.

Chatterjee, however, cautioned that this opportunity given to people who are home isolated, “should not be misused”.

“The infected people should stay at home and not roam around, and show greater responsibility towards the community, by observing all the norms,” he said.

Chatterjee also underlined the stigma faced by doctors and other healthcare workers who got infected by COVID-19, saying, this new move will come as a relief to them too.

Ajit Jain, the nodal officer for COVID-19 management at the State-run Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, said the decision has both its pros and cons.

“There is stigma attached to COVID-19. When a poster is pasted outside someone’s house, the neighbours start avoiding the family. Even after they recover, people keep away from them,” he said.

It’s because of this fear that people don’t get themselves tested for the infection, Jain said.

The advantage is that people will come out for testing in large numbers because even if they test positive, there will be no poster outside their homes. They won’t have to face peering eyes of others, he said.

“The disadvantage is that without the poster, no one would know who among their neighbours is COVID-29 positive. When people see the poster declaring home quarantine nearby, they start taking precautions accordingly,” he added.

The national capital recorded 37 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, taking the toll to 5,653 while 2,726 fresh cases took the tally to over three lakh, authorities said.

The number of people in home isolation incresed to 12,890 on Thursday compared to 12,691 the previous day.

The number of containment zones in Delhi rose to 2,734 on Thursday from 2,702 on Wednesday. PTI 

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