Heroes of Our Communities: Essential Workers on the Frontlines of the Battle against COVID-19

  • Heroes of Our Communities: Essential Workers on the Frontlines of the Battle against COVID-19
    16Apr 2020

    Amidst rising concerns surrounding the Coronavirus crisis, it seems to be the longest pause our nation has ever taken. India has always been a land bustling with energy. Loud and busy streets are the trademarks of our cities but recently it has stood in its tracks to stonewall the rampaging coronavirus.

    But how is a country with a vast population of over 130 cores continuing to live? Although being locked within four walls may give us a sense of being completely alone against an invisible enemy, we must remember that a few heroes work tirelessly day in and day out to assure our safety and comfort.

    These modern-day heroes are often neglected and taken for granted, but their true worth is shining through during this time as they continue to do their duty at great personal risk. The people who provide essential services are exempt from the lockdown but have to follow all the steps to guard against the virus.

    Some of them are struggling to make ends meet, others are concerned with how perilous this outbreak could be for them. Despite all, these brave-hearts from different walks of life step out of their houses to provide essential services.

    Healthcare Professionals: Doctors and other healthcare professionals are the first line of defense against coronavirus. In the race to save lives, there are no work hours, no shifts. Many doctors who run private practices have volunteered to help and authorities are setting up more and more beds to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

    “It is indeed scary, doctors across the world have lost their lives. But this is a war-like situation, and this time, the doctors are the soldiers. When a person joins the army and goes for a battle, there’s no guarantee that he will come back alive. Similarly, doctors for the fear of life cannot sit at home,”, said Dr. Arvind Kumar, Chest Surgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi.

    Police Personnel: They are not doctors but they are on the frontlines of the battle against the rampaging virus, keeping us safe and protecting us from our foolish impulses to venture out. Several videos of police personnel hitting people for breaking the lockdown are circulating but it is far from the truth. The force is calm and friendly, but firm in getting its message across: “please stay home and stay safe”.

    "My home is more than 80 km away from my assigned chowki. Our shifts range from 12 to 18 hours a day. Usually, I go home once every two or three days. Now, I may as well avoid that because my family shouldn't be at risk because of me,", said a senior constable manning a roadblock at a South Mumbai intersection.

    Municipal Staff: All back-end operations like water filtration, wastewater treatment, sewer management, garbage collection and, other monitoring services are operating as usual. The Municipal Corporations of our larger cities are using the lockdown to repair and rebuild roads in the suburbs ahead of the monsoon season deadline. Manpower shortage has hit the work but efforts are on to step it up and clear roads in an order of priority.

    “My youngest daughter tries to stop me every time I step out of my house these days. But I have no other choice…who will earn otherwise? What will we eat?”, said Vimla. Vimla, in her late 40s, is a safai karmachari of the Delhi Municipal Corporation and an ‘essential service’ provider.

    Ration Store owners and Pharmacists: It would be impossible for us to function without food or necessary medicines. When the lockdown was first announced, several of us felt the panic of being unable to procure the required medications or our daily rations, but these brave-hearts have overcome the fear of harm to their personal selves and are keeping their stores open to provide a great service to the public.

    “I have taken all precautions. We wear masks, use gloves, hand sanitiser and do not allow customers to come beyond the stairs of our store.”, said Sanjeev Kumar, Pharmacist, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi.

    These heroes have kept our country running smoothly during these difficult times, but they too have families to return to. While the call of their duty is too strong for them to ignore, it is our duty to remember their sacrifices in keeping our communities #UnitedByDistance.

    Content Source: various news feed

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