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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Don’t take pandemic lightly: Politicians who fought Covid

Politicians in Punjab who have recovered from COVID-19 are stressing on the importance of wearing masks and adhering to social distancing norms.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | September 9, 2020 1:06:08 pm
Ravinder Arora, COVID-19Ravinder Arora, former district president of Ludhiana BJP, had tested positive along with his daughter, a family help, in the first week of August.

Derabassi Akali Dal MLA N K Sharma was part of several political dharnas against the state’s Congress government until Covid-19 struck in the last week of August. Sharma (50), who was hospitalised for 10 days with oxygen support, now says that no one should take the disease lightly and throw caution to the winds.

“My oxygen level dipped to 80 and I had to be given oxygen support. I was discharged on Sunday. But now I know how much weakness it causes to the body even after you test negative. For four days, I could not even walk to the bathroom. Chest congestion, fever, cough and difficulty in breathing came along with a dip in oxygen level earlier — I experienced them all. One must not take it lightly and follow all the norms,” said Sharma, a Zirkpur resident. Sharma’s wife, father and brother had also tested positive. All of them are still recovering. Sharma claimed that social distancing norms, wearing masks must be followed.

“I have no other ailment and still I went through all this, imagine, what can happen to people with ailments like diabetes, heart problem etc. We need to take the rising numbers seriously,” he said.

BJP’s Fazilka district president Subodh Verma agrees. He said: “On August 21, I had throat infection and later fever that never went down. So on August 24, I got myself tested and came out positive. I had read about the symptoms, but had never imagined that I would undergo all this. My oxygen level went down to 93. Cold, lack of smell, taste, body aches, headache etc. troubled me a lot. For four days, I could not sleep properly. I used to keep my lights on all the time as I used to fear that the situation may turn worse anytime. My family members tested negative. Now, I am waiting for my second test report. I have been advised to stay indoors for a week. I do regular exercise and eat desi food all the time. We need to follow Covid guidelines irrespective of the political party we belong to. It can attack anyone.”

Ravinder Arora, former district president of Ludhiana BJP, too had tested positive along with his daughter, a family help, in the first week of August. Arora, who is part of an NGO Samvedna Trust, said, “After getting cured, I am distributing herbal karha, immunity boosters to many ‘free of cost’ so that people can be benefited. I had a liver disorder as well as I had been operated last year, despite that I recovered in home isolation as I continued taking immunity boosters and had strong will power. One can be cured even with comorbidities, provided you get tested early and you start taking all precautions at once.”

Arora had fever, cough cold for 3-4 days of his isolation period and later he had weakness and body aches.

He added, “My personal experience says that one should get tested at the earliest and should get treatment at home only as hospitals prefer admitting the ones who have contacts or are less critical. I myself get about 50 such calls from various persons where patients struggle to get beds in different hospitals. ”

While all these politicians advise taking proper precautions in times of the pandemic, they also argue that it is not possible for them to avoid meeting people.

SAD’s Dakha MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali, who tested positive on August 12, has once again resumed his public meetings after spending 25 days in home isolation. He said,” I developed fever only for 2 days. I used to do exercise twice a day and was particular about my diet, perhaps this was the reason that I developed minor symptoms, but it can be deadly for many others. However, in my political life, I cannot avoid meeting people, but I do see many of them without masks. Strangely, people object a lot to my mask . However, the one who has dealt with this infection, knows the importance of these guidelines.”

While politicians The Indian Express spoke to could easily get permission to stay at home while dealing with the infection, it was not the same for nutritionist Ramandeep Kaur Bhangoo (29) and her mother-in-law Harminder Kaur (63) and husband Gaganpreet Singh Bhangoo (29). Ramandeep said, “Our entire family including me, my wife and my parents developed fever, lack of taste, smell etc. from August 12-13 onwards. However, we got ourselves tested on August 18 when fever still persisted. I and my father tested negative, but my wife and my mother tested positive. Perhaps viral load could have been less in me, though my symptoms were the same as of my wife’s. However, I could not get home isolation facility via app as every day it could show that can’t take cases more than 100, so I went to meritorious school in fever, sat under a tree for 5-6 hours to get this permission for my mother and wife. This process needs to be simplified as I saw 30-40 more persons waiting for similar permission.”

Gaganpreet’s mother is a cancer patient, while his father is diabetic. All of them have now recovered.

Gaganpreet added, “Being from medical profession, we managed at home…It is tough for other people, hence we tell them not to take it as a joke. At the same time, home isolation process should be simplified, so that people can come forward for testing and getting themselves treated without any fear.”

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