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Adhering to admn’s guidelines, old-age homes in Chandigarh gear up to fight Covid-19

“We understand the vulnerability of senior citizens when it comes to Covid-19. That’s why, all precautions are being taken well in time at all old-age homes here,” says Yashpal Garg, secretary, social welfare department, Chandigarh

Updated: Mar 30, 2020 10:42 IST

By Srishti Jaswal,

Residents wearing masks and exercising social distancing at the old-age home in Sector 15, Chandigarh. (HT PHOTO)

I am not afraid of coronavirus, says a confident 80-year-old Sita Ram, an elderly living in one of the old-age homes of Chandigarh.

“I have witnessed the plague epidemic and have seen villages convert into crematoriums,” the senior citizen added.

At the old-age home in Sector 15, the occupants sit at one-metre distance and also follow the guidelines issued by the UT health department amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

GUIDELINES ISSUED BEFORE CURFEW



The instructions for isolation and quarantine were issued at the old-age homes in the beginning of this month following which no one was allowed to go in or out of the centres. The move was taken even before the UT administration imposed curfew in the city.



Besides, the groundwork for prevention of the pandemic in various old-age shelters was started well in advance by the UT social welfare department.

“Moreover, ration, including rice, wheat and pulses, medicines and sanitisers were stocked up at their premises by the respective shelter authorities,” said resident manager of the old-age-home in Sector 15, Vandana Bhatia. She also said, “We all are aware and prepared for the ongoing situation. Also, we are following all the precautions related to respiratory health as mandated by the health department. A management committee has also been formed to look into the matter, while a doctor also visits and examines the inhabitants every Wednesday.”

There are five old-age homes in the city -- Kartar Aasra near Sukhna Lake, Ratwara Sahib Akaal near PGIMER, Satya Sai old-age home in Sector 30 and two other facilities in Sectors 15 and 43. Around 300 elderly live in all these five centres across the UT.

Meena Sharma, 72, said, “I have seen many epidemics such as chickenpox, smallpox and cholera in my life, but this is the first time that such strict restrictions have been implemented.”

“I have heard on the radio how Covid-19 infected elderly patients were left to die in other countries. But I believe that if a person’s life can be extended by even a day, the person should be saved at any cost,” the elderly said.

Tara Devi, 75, and Zeenat, 72, both said they did not know much about the pandemic, but are religiously following the instructions given to them by their resident manager. “We maintain social distance, wash and sanitise our hands at regular intervals and don’t venture out,” the duo said.

On being asked about the early measures taken by the UT department, secretary social welfare department, Yashpal Garg, said they understood the vulnerability of senior citizens when it comes to Covid-19. “That’s why, all the precautions were taken well in time,” he said.

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