Coronavirus patients in home isolation in Punjab will no longer have to suffer the fear and stigma of social isolation resulting from posters affixed at the entrance of their homes.
In a step towards mitigating the stigma attached to the pandemic, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday rescinded his government's earlier decision of putting posters outside the houses of COVID-19 patients under home isolation or quarantine.
Singh said posters already affixed may be removed, as per an official release issued here.
The move is aimed at minimising the stigma resulting from the affixing of such posters at the front doors of homes of such patients, thus also negating the fear of testing, the chief minister said, as he appealed to the people to come out for early testing, diagnosis and treatment of the deadly disease.
The psychological trauma which patients were seen suffering as a result of these posters, meant to protect neighbours and others, was defeating the very purpose, Singh said.
These posters were actually found scaring people away from testing, he added.
The chief minister said the undesirable and unintended consequences of these posters included social isolation and stigma, leading to anxiety and prejudices against the patients.
People would refrain from getting tested to avoid this stigma instead of extending support and community to the patients and their families, which had prompted a rethink on the decision of affixing such posters, Singh said.
The chief minister urged people to continue taking all necessary precautions and follow guidelines for home isolation or quarantine notwithstanding the removal of the posters.
Violation of these guidelines is a punishable offence under the Disaster Management Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act and the IPC, he said.
Singh said his government was committed to ensuring the health and well-being of every person, and the community had an important role to play in this fight.
The Punjab government had recently allowed home isolation for asymptomatic/mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients, who did not suffer from any co-morbidities, as per the protocol of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and recommendations of the ICMR.
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