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Anantapur: Coronavirus pandemic triggers social boycott, suicide

Seven held for murdering businessman
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A couple returned from Covid hospital in Dharmavaram town on Sunday after recovery from the virus committed suicide by jumping down from a three-storied building unable to bear the stigma, humiliation and social boycott by neighbours and relatives

Anantapur: Inhuman treatment of coronavirus patients and those recovered from the virus at covid hospitals are the target of attack, humiliation and social boycott of the patients by neighbours, relatives and friends are a reflection of inhuman tendencies spreading not only in the district but also everywhere in the state.

A young couple, who returned home from covid hospital in Dharmavaram town on Sunday after recovery from corona virus, committed suicide by jumping down from a three-storied building, unable to bear the stigma, humiliation and social boycott by neighbours and relatives.

The couple Phani Raj and Sireesha already in pain at the loss of Phani's father just 10 days ago due to covid virus, had tested positive and was treated in the government hospital. The couple returned to their home after complete recovery. The couple took the extreme step due to their social boycott by relatives and neighbourhood.

Recently another man of Bramhasamudram village consumed pesticides and died. He took the extreme step as a friend of his succumbed to corona virus. After his friend's death, the villagers started harassing him saying that he too is a carrier of virus and stigmatised him. Unable to face the social boycott, he committed suicide. Scores are the stories of humiliation and social boycott prompting victims to end their lives.

The people's inhuman treatment is reflected in the denial of dignity to mortal remains of covid patients. In many places, many grieving families and friends have had to endure the pain, not just because of the death of someone they loved, but because residents or even neighbours have rejected the body for burial. These people are too afraid of the virus contagion despite repeated awareness camps conducted by the government and health experts.

Teachers, businessmen, doctors, advocates and frontline workers are remembered by people around them as a person who put humanity first. But in their death they were denied the same by residents of town that they served, this is because of the uncontrolled rumours around the spread of COVID-19. This has become a common phenomenon in the entire nation.

WHO has developed a protocol to provide information on the safe management of burial of patients, who died from suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The hospital authorities will take all necessary steps to cover the body. Disinfection procedures and ensure safe burials, starting from the moment the teams arrive in the village up to their return to the hospital or headquarters. The handling of human remains should be kept to a minimum. The burial process is very sensitive for the family and community and can be the source of trouble or even open conflict.

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