MANASH PRATIM DUTTA
GUWAHATI, June 29 - “If you get infected with COVID-19, there is nothing to feel panicky about. Since there is no medicine available for this disease as yet, we need to maintain our mental strength. In a situation like this, mental strength is the main medicine for corona,” said COVID-19 patient, Udalguri Deputy Commissioner Prakash Ranjan Gharphalia during a conversation with The Assam Tribune.
Gharphalia is the first senior bureaucrat of Assam to test positive for COVID-19 in the State. Currently undergoing treatment at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), he said that for a ground-level worker it is of utmost importance to be alert at every moment in order to remain safe from the virus.
He got admitted to the GMCH on June 25 and now the condition of his health is quite stable. As per protocol, health workers will again collect his swab soon for a re-test.
Speaking about his experience as a frontline worker during the fight against COVID-19, Gharphalia said, “My district is a backward place, so all my staff strove very hard to make people aware about the disease. In the very initial stages, we had made arrangements to keep more than 3,000 people under quarantine. Our staff worked hard in the tea garden and rural areas also.”
He informed that in the process of creating mass awareness about novel coronavirus, the Udalguri district administration also engaged members from the local community. This brought very good results.
“We carried out extensive mass awareness. People also obeyed all norms during the lockdown. But when the ‘unlock’ phase began, some people assumed that the threat from the virus was over. Then we again carried out another round of extensive awareness drive,” he stated.
According to Gharphalia, in his district rural people are more alert than their counterparts in urban areas.
“My exposure to the disease is very unfortunate. I had taken as much precaution as possible. Still, there are some chances of exposure, because it is not easy to use hand-gloves while doing paper work. Now I am working from the hospital online. Already we have engaged new staff against those who have been put under quarantine,” he added.