Genius Idea or Cruel Threat? In Gwalior, If You Don’t Wear Masks, You’ll Have to Volunteer at a Hospital

Coronavirus

Genius Idea or Cruel Threat? In Gwalior, If You Don’t Wear Masks, You’ll Have to Volunteer at a Hospital

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

The coronavirus numbers in India are rising. We have crossed seven lakh cases and the death toll has mounted to 20,160. While the respective states are doing the best they can as far as health care goes, as citizens, we also need to bear responsibility. People are seen crowding public places unnecessarily, flouting travel norms, and roaming around without masks. To rein them in, Gwalior has a plan of action. While administrators in some cities have tried to crack the whip using excessive police force, authorities in Gwalior have discovered a novel punishment for those not wearing masks. Citizens found violating the Covid-19 prevention guidelines will have to work as volunteers at hospitals and police check-posts for three days.

The order is a part of the “Kill Corona” campaign implemented across Madhya Pradesh. It said those found without mask or not following the coronavirus guidelines at public places will not only have to pay a fine, but they would also have to work as volunteers for three days in hospitals and fever clinics treating Covid-19 patients and at the police check-posts.

“We have started execution of this from today (Monday). If they won’t follow Covid-19 guidelines they will have to perform duties of coronavirus warriors. They will have to work as volunteers for three days in hospitals and police check-posts,” said Collector Kaushlendra Vikram Singh.

Under the “Kill Corona” campaign, teams of healthcare professionals will conduct door- to-door surveys for 15 days to identify and isolate Covid-19 patients. For this purpose, the MP administration has deployed 11,458 teams equipped with thermometres, pulse oximeters, and protective gear. Madhya Pradesh has around 15,000 cases including 608 deaths. With 64 new cases, the count in the city of Gwalior has just edged above the 500 mark.

The move to penalise people with volunteer work has been cheered not only by Indians, but has also found a fan base in America. In the US, videos of people rejecting the face mask as a “sign of liberty” have been commonplace. Healthcare professionals have called out this reckless attitude but to no avail.

Maybe they could learn a lesson from the humble city of Gwalior.

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