Sunday, March 29, 2020

Air crew & returnees face flak, rumours but no empathy

New Delhi/Mumbai: As fears of coronavirus spread grows, air crews are often faced with stigma and not salute for their contribution in rescuing Indians, mainly pilgrims or students, who were stranded abroad. It's a phenomenon that often repeats across metros, when air crews, doctors and even journalists and their families face the ordeal of being ostracised on a daily basis. Lately, Air India and IndiGo's air crew faced such situations, as many of them were asked by neighbours to vacate their homes, just out of fear that they might be asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus. This, even while many of them were on a self-imposed quarantine or are currently working as essential services providers.
The problem, says a senior Air India commander, who faced such a situation recently in one of the posh localities of South Delhi is "the lack of understanding and rumour mongering that is going on, especially on certain mobile-app based chat groups".

"I was under a self-imposed quarantine, after completing a tour from Europe. Understandably, local administration placed a poster outside my house which mentions that the flat is under quarantine. Within a few hours pictures of that poster were all over many chat groups."

"What's worse is the fact that my family members weren't even allowed to take our dog out for walks or the fact that daily supplies which are meant to be delivered at our door steps under the provisions of the quarantine rule was not facilitated by my neighbourhood association."

This experience is of a senior commander who was instrumental in operating some of the last few flights to major European capitals to bring stranded Indians back home.

However, without holding any animosity, the Commander added: "At the end of the day, they are just people who are scared. After all this is over, I really wish they collectively realise that empathy is the real motivation that drives air crews to go for such rescue ops."
29/03/20 IANS/daijiworld
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