Union health minister Dr Harshvardhan expressed his anguish today over reports of medical and paramedical personnel being targeted in their localities as carriers of coronavirus. Asking people not to panic, he said all precautions are being taken to ensure that they are not carriers of the infection.
Under the circumstances, "Any harsh steps will demoralise them, derail the system," he added.
The panic over the spread of coronavirus has resulted in backlash in some parts of the country by vigilante groups. The targets have been medical personnel as well as employees of airlines involved in flying back Indians stranded in various nations.
Last week, the Resident Doctors' Association of Delhi's prestigious All-India Institute of Medical Sciences wrote to Union Minister Amit Shah, saying several healthcare professionals fighting coronavirus are facing eviction by their landlords. Many doctors have been stranded on the roads with all their luggage, they wrote seeking interventiom.
Today, the health minister tweeted:
I'm DEEPLY ANGUISHED to see reports pouring in from Delhi, Noida,Warangal,Chennai etc that DOCTORS & PARAMEDICS are being ostracised in residential complexes & societies. Landlords are threatening to evict them fearing #COVID2019 infection. Pls don't panic !#CoronavirusLockdown— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) March 24, 2020
All precautions are being taken by doctors & staff on #COVID2019 duty to ensure they're not carriers of infection in anyway. Any harsh steps will demoralise them, derail the system.On Sunday,nation applauded their selfless services. It's our bounden duty 2 keep their morale high— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) March 24, 2020
During his announcement of the 14-hour "Janata Curfew" on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested that the people show respect to the fighters against coronavirus - especially doctors and nurses - by clapping, clanging plates and ringing of bells.
At a recent meeting between the Central and state officials before the National Disaster Management law was invoked across the country ahead of the 21-day lockdown, sources said the states were asked to ensure adequate protection to doctors and their support staff.