Over 3,600 labourers have been discharged from quarantine facilities in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda till Tuesday and many of them have pledged to create awareness about coronavirus on reaching their villages in remote belts, officials said here.
Nearly 2,500 people who had travelled outside the Union territory are still under administrative quarantine in the district, they said.
After testing negative, 145 workers were discharged on Tuesday morning from the Bhaderwah University Campus, the largest COVID care wellness facility in the district, taking the number of those released after undergoing quarantine to 3,625.
Expressing their gratitude to the administration, especially the staff posted at the centre, the labourers said they were earlier afraid of being quarantined and thus, behaved "indifferently and aggressively".
"We are sorry for our earlier behaviour as remaining stranded for 40 days in Uttarakhand unnerved us and after reaching our native district, we thought quarantine is unnecessary and we became impatient," Munnawar Din (60), a worker from far-flung Kahie-Kahara village, told PTI.
He said the nearly two-week-long quarantine period turned out to be a learning experience.
"We learned a lot about the disease and the measures needed to be safe. We will share our experience with our fellow villagers on reaching home," Din added.
Mehboob Ahmad Khan (52) of Bhalessa said they were made aware about the importance of social distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing by the staff.
The officials posted at the COVID care wellness centre said they have also developed a special bond with the inmates. They showered rose petals on the discharged labourers as they were boarding buses on their way home.
"This is altogether a new experience for us. I do remember an incident which still sends a chill down my spine when an inmate sneaked to the roof of the building and threatened to commit suicide.
"Today the same person was crying profusely and pledged to become a corona warrior until we defeat it. I think this is an achievement of sorts for the staff," said Aarif Haleem Khateeb, nodal officer, COVID care wellness centre, Bhaderwah campus.
He said after getting a nod from District Development Commissioner, Doda, Sagar Dattatray Doifode, the staff went the extra mile to deal with the elderly persons lodged at the centre.
"We organised special sessions on coronavirus and took due care of their typical food habits, besides teaching them the importance of social distancing and maintaining cleanliness," he said.
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