Recovered Covid-19 Patients Face Social Discrimination

Health officials present bouquets to recovered Covid-19 patients after their discharge from Srinagar Hospital . File Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar: At 49 per cent, Jammu and Kashmir has been effectively fighting coronavirus to register a high rate of recovery but patients declared COVID-19 free are now battling discrimination and in some cases ostracism from the society.

Of the 879 positive cases of COVID-19 detected in Jammu and Kashmir, 427 have recovered which is among the highest, in terms of percentage, among states and union territories across the country.

However, patients declared COVID-19 free by doctors are facing tough times while carrying out normal day-to-day activities.

One of the recovered patients said he needed to see a dentist to address his toothache but the dentist refused to see him.

I have a toothache since the past few days. I do not know how to satisfy the dentist that I am not (COVID-19) infected anymore, a patient, who was discharged from a hospital here, told the doctors who treated him at the COVID facility.

Another patient said he might need some documentary proof from health authorities which will certify that he is COVID-free now.

I bought a gas cylinder recently. As soon as the guy came to know that I was COVID positive earlier, he asked many stupid questions. He even asked if he can touch the currency notes that I gave him, he said.

Another recovered COVID patient said that officials of a private telecom company refused to install a broadband Internet connection at his residence.

Every person to-date considers us as COVID-19 patient. I applied for Internet broadband connection but they are afraid of me, said the patient, who also wanted that he be given a certificate of being as normal as others in the society.

I had applied for the Internet connection so that my kids can attend online classes which have become the new normal in the wake of the lockdown. My kids are asking many questions …. I don’t have answers, he said.

Such incidents have left recovered COVID patients frustrated as they are unable to carry out routine activities.

The plight of these patients has prompted Dr Naveed Nazir Shah, who is heading the COVID-19 hospital at Dalgate, to issue an appeal to the people not to discriminate against those who have recovered.

Unfortunate that the recovered COVID patients are being stigmatised by society and denied basic amenities. Please treat them as normal, Shah said in a tweet.

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