The deadly COVID-19 has spread to almost every state of India, infecting more than 500 people. Last night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown for three weeks asking people to not leave their houses. People have quarantined themselves in their homes, fulfilling their responsibility in the battle against COVID-19. In this crucial situation when the welfare of the family and the closed ones are of paramount importance, there are some people who are living away from their families. These are not the ones who have been self-isolating but the ones who are stuck in the cities where they work or study due to the lockdown. The risk of exposure to the virus or carrying it unknowingly to their loved ones if they travel has forced these people to stay put, albeit far away from their loved ones.
How are they managing in this critical situation and away from their families? What do their families feel? To get the answers to these and more questions, SheThePeople.TV spoke to Urveen Kohli, the Graphic Designer who is social distancing with her roommate, away from her family.
Stay wherever you are but stay inside
We did store a lot of stuff a few days back but now we are facing the very problem we were afraid of.
When we asked Urveen about her reason to stay back, she said, “When we (she and her roommate) realized that the situation was getting serious, we decided to not travel. Even if we wear gloves, masks and take every precaution, we do not know who sat on the seats of the plane before us. The flight attendants take just five minutes to clean the seats and I don’t think seats can be disinfected in such a short time. It is safer to stay wherever you are, but stay inside.”
“We are only having rice and dal and trying to survive,”
Due to the lockdown, most of the shops stand shut. Panic buying and limited resources has made access to essentials supplies. We asked Urveen how she is managing alone and surviving the lockdown. She said that she has been facing a lot of difficulties in buying groceries. “Even Big Basket is not delivering now. There are no slots available. We did store a lot of stuff a few days back but now we are facing the very problem we were afraid of.” She said that even if the general shops are open, they are in the areas where they are reluctant to go to. “We are only having rice and dal and just trying to survive,” she said.
Family is important, but containing the spread is crucial
Strangely my and my roommate’s family is very calm. Because they know that we are staying at home. Only when we tell them that we are going out to buy vegetables do they panic.
The coronavirus outbreak has claimed 10 lives in India and more than 16,000 lives across the world and the pandemic is far from over. In such an uncertain situation, families with a member living away from home endure so much stress. No matter how safe one is, it is not the same as being together under one roof. When the whole country has been locked inside their homes, isn’t it better to be locked with the family rather than being alone? “If given an option, I might as well work from my hometown and be with my family,” said Urveen. “If we stay with our family in this situation, the panic reduces considerably. We sit with our parents and are happy that all of us are safe,” she added. But alas, right now containing the spread of coronavirus is more important, and thus many students and employees like Urveen are staying put where they are.
Strangely, my family is calm
The biggest tool to tackle the pandemic is to not panic and think rationally about how each one of us can be safe whether with family or not. Staying with family certainly lightens the stress, but that cannot come at the expense of everyone's safety. “This is why people want to go back to their families now, but I think it is rational and safer to stay wherever you are,” said Urveen. “Strangely my and my roommate’s family is very calm. Because they know that we are staying at home. Only when we tell them that we are going out to buy vegetables do they panic,” said she, further stressing, “I think people are really calm at such a critical time.”
Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.