COVID-19 dominates the news and discussions in newspapers, television, hospitals and all public places. As a result, when expatriates arrive home, they are under stress from the moment they land at the airport.
In other words, everyone has realized the gravity of the situation. COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic and we all should stay united to tackle the threat, says noted health activist Dr Shimna Azeez.
While the government, health personnel, volunteers and the general public are working in tandem to keep us safe, we should not ignore a section of people, she says. They are the persons in quarantine in their houses and hospitals only because their names figured in the COVID-19 contact list.
According to Shimna, these people kept under isolation are the ones who minimize the impact of the disease. “They, in fact, protect our society,” she says.
When we read so many people are in quarantine at a certain place, we have no idea how difficult life is for them, says Shimna. “The people in quarantine should not be blamed for their condition. They stay away from their loved ones and from all forms of entertainment, confined to a room for a long 28 days for our sake,” she points out.
Most of these people kept in isolation may not be infected with the virus at all. Still, they keep away from dear ones as well as society as a precaution against the spread of the disease, says the doctor.
Considering these aspects, everyone has a duty to support the people kept in quarantine with some love, she opines. “The mental stress a person forced to stay all alone for 28 days is terrible,” says Shimna.
In fact, the quarantined people are warriors in the war against COVID-19, according to her. As meeting them personally and offering our support is impossible, another way has to be found, she feels.
Every quarantined person has to keep a smartphone. In case it is not available, we should provide them with a budget smartphone with Internet data, she says. “The first step of connecting them with the world outside would then be covered successfully,” she says.
The next step is more important, says Shimna. “These warriors are confining themselves to a room for 28 days to protect Kerala and also India from COVID-19. Let us dedicate some amount of our time to them. We can engage in an activity that makes them feel close to us. It could be an article, speech, song, dance or a fun video. We can also write a story or draw a picture. Any small effort would mean a lot to the people in isolation,” she suggests.
Shimna has created a hashtag, #CheerCovid19Warriors for the purpose. “We can express our solidarity on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter. Each effort in support of the quarantined people should include people not only in Kerala or India but around the world,” she says.
Apart from creating paintings and singing songs, we can do something else for quarantined people who are known to us, adds the doctor. This could be a small treat or a trip after the quarantine period. Such promises would help them pass the time in isolation without stress, she says.
The entire Health Department of Kerala, medical personnel, supporting staff, ambulance drivers and even the anganwadi teachers are working in a coordinated manner along with those in quarantine to defeat COVID-19, earning the praise of the international community. “As frontline warriors, the quarantined people need special mention and for them I dedicate a song I regularly sing for my kids Achu and Sonu,” says Shimna while sharing a video on Facebook.
Likewise, she urges talented artists to join the cause and cheer up the warriors. “While posting your work on any platform, use the hashtag #CheerCovid19Warriors so that all the creative efforts are available at the same place. Tell this to your friends and also share it with them. Tag some others. Let this become a big movement that destroys COVID-19 forever,” says Shimna.