Following increase in COVID cases, lack of access to medical aid
An increasing number of Keralites who have settled in the national capital are returning to the State following a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases and strict lockdown measures there.
With Delhi’s health-care system under severe strain and reports of a mad scramble for hospital beds and oxygen coming out, Kerala is seen as a safer place by Malayalis who had moved to the national capital for work or business.
“I had returned to Delhi after vacation on April 18 from my native place at Ambalapra, Ottappalam in Palakkad, only to rush back on the 26th following the spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths, non-availability of beds, medicines and mobility issues,” says Sreehari S. Nair, who works in an automotive company and has been staying in Mayur Vihar Phase I, East Delhi, for 21 years.
Mr. Nair, who returned with his wife and two children, says many others have returned to the State as the situation deteriorated. “Many in Delhi are not even stepping out into the balcony of their apartments. A fear psychosis has gripped the people there. It is only the risk of travelling and the quarantine regulations that deter many Keralites from returning temporarily to their home State,” he says.
Latha Srinivasan, a former teacher at Mothers International School, near IIT Delhi, who has been staying for 45 years in Patpatganj, says she decided to return to her daughter’s home in Kochi after her bad experience in the first wave of the pandemic. “Faced with old age ailments, I was worried about getting medical aid as things are pretty bad in the second wave,” says the 69-year-old. “We hear that medicines and food are in short supply. Even neighbours whom we knew for years were reluctant to open their doors. My son is working from home and asked me to be with my daughter at her apartment at Kadavanthara for the time being.”
Ms. Srinivasan says she does not have any concern over getting medical aid here as in Delhi.
Mr. Nair, who is now working from Kerala, is all praise for the implementation of the COVID-19 protocol and health workers’ support in the State. “In Delhi, physical distancing is often not practical for those staying in apartments. One has to move via the common stairs, lifts and corridors and parking lots used by all. There is no guidance and no one knows whom to contact in Delhi if you are infected.”
“But here ASHA workers are at your doorstep if you turn positive. Everyone is extending support to curb the spread of the pandemic,” he says.
He says he will consider returning to Delhi with family only after the situation improves.
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