We are cooped up for our safety, but there are people who are out on duty to ensure our wellbeing

There are lakhs of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and police officials who are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, working day and night. All they want is that we stay at home during the lockdown

Divendra Singh
| Updated: March 26th, 2020

“All parents are concerned about their children, so are the parents of the doctors. My mom saw a video on YouTube that said Coronavirus can remain airborne and infect people. She immediately phoned me to remind me to take care of myself. They are concerned about us. So, as long as people continue to cooperate, all will be safe,” said Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, national president of the Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF) and a former AIIMS doctor.

Dr Bhatti is among the lakhs of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, police officials and cleaners workers who are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, working day and night. He wants people to join the battle against Coronavirus by staying at home during the 21-day lockdown — from March 25 to April 14 — announced by prime minister Narendra Modi.

“We doctors are trying to save people round the clock. People must also cooperate, only then will we be able to stop the virus from spreading,” Dr Bhatti said.

There are many doctors who are working night and day in order to treat Covid-19 cases across the country

He said in hospitals COVID-19 patients are separated from the others. “There is a separate dress for doctors and nurses attending to COVID-19 patients. So, such efforts are going on for safety and as precaution,” he said.

Just like doctors, even nurses spend a lot of time with the infected patients. “We are in need the most during such times,” said Malati Devi, a staff nurse at Rani Lakshmibai Hospital at Rajajipuram in Lucknow. “If we sit at home, how will we fight the virus? So, we take all precautions to ensure our own safety and that of the patients,” she said.

The police also play a crucial role in the fight against the pandemic by ensuring people don’t venture out of their home without a valid reason. Sub-inspector Ravindra Singh, stationed at Chakiya police station in Kanpur, patrols the highway and the market toprevent people from stepping out. “Since the lockdown, we are on duty day and night. We have the responsibility of keeping people safe. We let only those with emergencies to step out of home,” he said.

The police also play a crucial role in the fight against the pandemic by ensuring people don’t venture out of their home without a valid reason

Police personnel take sufficient precautions for their own safety. “As long as we are outside, we wear masks, although we have some problem with their prolonged use. Therefore, people should understand that we take so much trouble for their safety. Unless absolutely necessary, they should not leave their homes,” Singh said.

In Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, constable Yogesh Kumar Yadav, who hails from Bahraich, is on duty. “On the first day of the lockdown, people came out of their houses, but now they have understood that it is better to stay indoors for their own safety,” he said.

Yadav, stationed at a crossroads, is a little worried about his own safety. “We have neither got masks nor sanitiser. We have been given only soaps. Now, as I stand here on the road, how will I wash my hands? I have purchased masks and sanitiser on my own,” he said.

Amid the lockdown, many NGOs have come forward to help the homeless, beggars, slum-dwellers and labourers, who are the most vulnerable to the outbreak

Uday Foundation is providing essential items like food, masks, sanitizer and soaps to many people in Delhi. It is also training them to properly wash their hands.

Rahul Verma, founder of Uday Foundation, said, “There are many people — the homeless, daily wage labourers and those who have come for treatment in cities — who need help. We are also making them aware about the disease and how to fight it and are supplying necessary goods to them. We are giving them soaps, sanitizer, masks and health kits.”

Rahul and his team are reaching out to people in different parts of Delhi. He said, “Our volunteers also move fully prepared. There are many such families living on the road and slums who work for daily wages and can no longer find any work. So, we are also delivering food to them. More people will have to come forward to help because the situation may further worsen.”

Like the healthcare workers, police and NGO activists, safai workers are working to keep places clean by clearing garbage

The Gomtinagar garbage disposal centre in Lucknow receives garbage from the entire city. The centre in charge, Shailendra Singh, said, “If we also sit at home, think what will happen. We have more than 30 trucks picking up garbage from just Gomti Nagar. We are also afraid as we all have families. So, we pick up garbage by ensuring our safety. All safai workers and drivers have been given masks, sanitizer and shoes. There are some who are scared, but we cannot sit home in fear.”