Delhi Violence-Hit Families At Shelter Fear Coronavirus Outbreak

A lot of people have been complaining of cough, cold, vomiting and fever, said Laik Ahmad, from Doctors' Unity Welfare Association, which has set up a free health camp at the shelter.

Delhi Violence-Hit Families At Shelter Fear Coronavirus Outbreak

Doctors and volunteers said all steps were being taken to keep the compound clean (File)

New Delhi:

Hundreds of riot-hit families, sheltered in Mustafabad in northeast Delhi, are regularly urged to wash their hands and maintain cleanliness. Volunteers provide medicines, sanitisers and counselling. Already battling mental trauma following violence, the families are now faced with another challenge: novel coronavirus.

A lot of people have been complaining of cough, cold, vomiting and fever, said Laik Ahmad, from Doctors' Unity Welfare Association, which has set up a free health camp at the shelter.

"Besides medicines, we have been asking them to use masks and wash their hands. But we don't take the name 'coronavirus'. It may create panic among people who have already been going through a lot," Mr Ahmad, 43, said.

Doctors and volunteers said all steps were being taken to keep the compound clean but maintaining hygiene with so many people is a challenge. There are only a few mobile toilets, which has put the elderly, women and children to a lot of trouble.

Members of healthcare teams said representatives of various organisations have been visiting the camp and there is a need for everyone to take proper precautions.

"We have enough soap and water but there's a shortage of masks," Ahsan Saifi, another doctor, said.

Ankita Upreti from Self-Employed Women's Association said volunteers have been trying to ensure there's no panic among people due to the virus, which has infected 30 people across the country.

"These people have gone through so much... There are lot of problems to deal with and we have not been able to pay attention to coronavirus threat properly. For now, we are asking people to maintain cleanliness and wash their hands," she said.