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COVID-19 stigma more scary than disease itself: journalists say after defeating the virus


Sherief KC, BARA:- Two Kapilvastu-based journalists returned home on Sunday from the COVID-19 isolation care in Kapilvastu after a successful recovery. The news reporters who were believed to have been infected in course of news reporting had spent 17 days in isolation at Mahuri Home-based isolation and ultimately defeated the virus.
”I feel like a winning warrior. It feels like I am going home after winning a battle,” said a 29-year-old journalist associated with ‘Kapilvastu Darpan’ and ‘Ujyalo Post’ as preparations were on to send him home along with another journalist.
”I was more fearful about society due to COVID-19 stigma than of the disease itself,” he shared his personal experience. He was confirmed positive to the virus on 22 May. His spouse and four-year-old daughter had locked-up themselves in a rented room after he was tested positive for the virus.
News reporting is a field-based job and during his stay in isolation, he said adding he missed the days in the field reporting. Moreover, he went through home sickness throughout his days in the isolation.
He was at his office when he was informed about this test result. He would prepare tea for self in office kitchen. But upon his office staff came to know that he was the carrier of virus, he said he was treated differently than usual days. “I felt restrictions at my working station, I felt I was confined.”
He used to be more worried to think about the level of stress that his family and those coming into his close contact were going through at the moments. As he guessed, they would obviously under a lot of stress at the time. But, reports of all those came negative in the eighth day of the detection of virus on him and the news relieved him from a huge pressure. As he said, he tried his best to make his isolation stay productive by getting connected to his sources through online and disseminating the news.
The experience of a 24-year-old journalist of Bhadihawa, Banganga-11 is not unlike the previous one.
The journalist associated with the Community Radio/Television Buddha Awaj spent nine hours after the detection in confusion. He was clueless about how to deal with the situation. His mobile phone was continuously ringing after the news about his test went viral among his family and friends circle. Finally he was picked up at around 8:30 pm by an ambulance and taken to the Mahuri Home-based isolation facility.
He believed his family had to grapple with tough time to handle the pressure caused by unnecessary rumors, unproven assumptions and social stigma attached to the virus. According to him, he was an asymptotic patient. Some people were there who discouraged him saying ‘all gone’ while still some people were there to boost up his confidence and inspire him to gather courage for defeating the virus.
He was more health conscious and more careful about his diets in isolation. He would frequently drink hot water mixed with ginger, garlic powder and lemon juice.
”In the beginning, I was scared to go to isolation and slowly it became a new normal,’ he said, adding that social networking sites and telephone conversations with the family were the means of time pass in the isolation. He continuously got moral and psychological support from the family members and 17 days in the isolation went easily.
The discharge was possible after his second PCR report came negative at 1:00 pm Sunday and he took no time to share this good news to his colleagues through a Facebook group chat. RSS

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