Amid reports of alienation and discrimination against those affected with coronavirus and those working in close proximity to the patients, several residents in Kerala are setting an example by offering their homes as quarantine centres.
Faced with the task of putting 184 people under home quarantine, the local self-governing body at Kathirur in Kannur district came up with the idea of shifting all to a few houses, reported The Indian Express.
"Our panchayat has 184 people under home quarantine and managing their medical and non-medical needs is a big task. Many people were reluctant to stay at their own homes fearing that their whole family will be socially boycotted. Then, someone suggested the idea of shifting all of them to a few houses, depending on the availability of rooms with attached bathroom," Panchayat president M Sheeba told the media.
Such houses are also beneficial to the health workers as they no longer have to visit multiple houses to check on those under home quarantine. Furthermore, volunteers trained by the local body serve food at these houses.
Five days into the local body's proposal, owners of eight houses handed over their premises to set up quarantine facilities. While some of the residents moved to their ancestral houses, others were Non-Resident Keralites whose houses were vacant.
"I feel comfortable here. This has taken away my family's tension regarding social boycott. If a person is under quarantine, everyone living in that house is watched by local residents who fear they may spread the infection," a man quarantined at one of the houses told the media.
Meanwhile, at Mogral Puthur in Kasaragod district, farmer Abdul Hameed has handed over his house to the health department to quarantine five people. He is now staying at a small house in his agricultural land 40 km away from Mogral Puthur.
"These youths have elderly people at their houses. Hospitals in the district do not have enough rooms to lodge persons under observation. So, I handed over my house," said Hameed.
"My family too was scared. But, I put public interest first,'' he added.
In a similar incident, C I Abdullahkunji of Kudlu in Kasaragod district has offered his three-star hotel to be used as an isolation facility for free, reported Manorama Online.
Eighty-eight rooms of the top three floors of the seven-storeyed Century Park building will function as the isolation ward. Necessary precautions like sanitising the water tank and cleaning the hotel premises have also been taken.