New Delhi: Clad in black ghost costumes, volunteers deployed by the district administration of Madhya Pradesh’s Indore and the city police are walking around slums and crowded colonies to scare people into staying indoors and follow the current nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The lockdown has been enforced by the central government to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus which has spread to better to mention the number of countries almost all the countries in the world. While talking with NDTV about the initiative, Asad Warsi, Chief Consultant at Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) said,
Even though the Prime Minister announced the lockdown 10 days ago, people have been flouting it, which has sometimes created unnecessary nuisance in the city. So as an awareness-building measure, we have started ‘ghost drive’ – a unique approach to stop people from violating the COVID-19 lockdown. We have formed a special group of six social workers who are reaching out to people living in slums and educating them about coronavirus.
He further said that the volunteers have been identified as per the location of their residence and workplace in order to ensure they don’t have to travel across the city.
The costumes donned by volunteers have images of lungs affected by coronavirus. As ghosts, they scare those who loiter on roads during the curfew to warn them that if they step out, coronavirus will possess them. According to Raju, a volunteer, people are responding positively to the drive and trying to stay indoors. He said,
Being a social worker, it is a priority for me to keep the people of my community safe. We are giving a message to people in a different way and they are also listening to us. We also go to the homes of the people to ask if they need anything and if they have any symptoms.
COVID 19 Epidemic In Indore And Steps Taken To Deal With It
Indore, known for being recognised as the cleanest city of India under Swachh Survekshan three times in a row, is grappling with coronavirus with maximum share of confirmed cases in the state. According to the health bulletin issued by the Department of Health of the state, as of April 4, there were 179 confirmed cases in the state out of which 128 were in Indore. The district has also suffered three casualties due to coronavirus.
To deal with the outbreak, the district administration is operating various campaigns under which a special team has been deployed to answer citizen queries about symptoms and treatment and bust myths around the disease.
Apart from awareness building, in order to help the people living in slums and poor neighbourhoods cope with the current situation, IMC has started a ‘parchi system’ in which volunteers provide a list of essential items to each of the poor household in their area on which they can check the items required at their home along with the quantity of items required, their name, address and contact information. The next day volunteers collect the list and drop these at IMC identified shops. The shopkeepers and volunteers then pack the required items and deliver them to the residents at reasonable rates. According to an official at IMC, this is also being done to maintain social distance and avoid crowds at shops.