K’Taka Health Dept Revealed My Address, Made Self-Quarantine Tough

Was it important for the Karnataka Health dept to tweet out the addresses of people under home quarantine?

Updated30 Mar 2020, 11:20 AM IST
My Report
4 min read

I am working as a senior software engineer. I had recently travelled to Germany on 15 February and returned on 14 March. I had been healthy throughout my trip, and had my body temperature checked during immigration.

Everything was fine.

I returned to my PG in Koramangala at 6 am in the morning, when no one was available. I went to my room and told my roommate to stay with her friend as I needed to be under self-quarantine.

Due to COVID-19 outbreak in Karnataka, I had remained in self-quarantine, I did not use the common fridge or the common washing machine.

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The only time I came out of my room was to get food and that to at an hour when everyone was done eating. Many a days, nothing was left to eat and I had to order food.

Things were going fine. I didn’t show any COVID-19 symptoms. Everyday, I would get a call from the health department, checking up on my health status. I had also checked with my office doctors in Germany and back in India and they had confirmed that I was absolutely fine.

Everyday, I made sure to check my temperature and breathing capacity which was well within the safe zone.

Karnataka Health Dept Tweets Out Address

However, things turned real uphill when the Karnataka health department decided to reveal the address of all the people who were under quarantine.

A girl from my PG saw the list and in panic called the PG owner and informed him about this.

I clearly explained to him (PG owner) that I am taking full precautions and constantly in touch with my doctors and had been updating my health status to the government helpline.

I also mentioned to him that it was day 13 in my quarantine, and I did not have any symptoms. He was convinced and told me that it's fine. He had conveyed the same to the person who had complained but she was not convinced.

No Stamp, No Trust

The next day, she called the police and told them that I returned from Germany and broke all the quarantine rules and was roaming around. The police called me out in front of the entire neighbourhood, where everyone stood in their balconies and watched the drama.

They refused to listen to any explanation I tried giving them. They told me that I hid my travel history from the people (all though I had made it clear to all the people I was interacting in the PG that I was back from Germany).

The police called some health workers, who could not digest the fact that I did not have a stamp on my hand (the stamping system started on 18 March, and I had returned on 14 March) .

After asking a series of questions, they asked me to go back to my room and said that authorities would come and seal my room. I started panicking.

The people in the colony were all interested in what was happening to me. I understand, that having lunch in the common area might not have been a good idea but it was a basic necessity and I did maintain and follow each guidelines of social distancing. I came back to my room and had a serious mental break down.

After sometime, two doctors from the Government of Karnataka came and talked to me. They asked me about my travel history and did my check-up. Finally, they told the PG staff that I am absolutely fine and there is no need to worry.

They got me stamped and asked the PG people to send food to my room from time to time.

I just want to know, was it really important for the Karnataka health department to tweet out the addresses of the people under self-quarantine? Who is answerable to the harassment that I have receive everyday since?

I do understand that I should have been more careful but which is the most correct way to self-quarantine yourself? This is a breach of privacy and had an adverse effect on me. I can only imagine what others might have gone through, whose addresses were there on the excel sheets.

People who have come from abroad in recent times are going through a lot, since they are living in constant fear of catching the virus. But is this social stigma really necessary?

Self-Quarantine Period Ends

My self-quarantine period is officially over but I can assure you, it wasn’t easy. The doctors have given me a clean chit. But the PG authorities are still looking at me with suspicion and so are the the residents of the colony. I guess, this will take some time.

The medical doctors who were checking me were very supportive. They have assured me that, incase I face any issue, I must contact them. This gives me some assurance amidst all the differences.

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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Published: 30 Mar 2020, 10:52 AM IST
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