Kerala woman who recovered from COVID-19 ousted from hostel by residents

The woman filed a complaint citing distress due to ostracisation from hostel mates.
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The COVID-19 case load in Kerala has been steadily rising over the past two months. While the death rate in the state has not been alarming (Kerala reported 22 deaths on October 18), a few of those who have recovered from the virus have been facing other issues. 

In the latest incident of social ostracization meted out to a COVID-19 patient, a young woman living in Kochi who had recovered from COVID-19 filed a complaint citing mental trauma due to the ostracization she faced at the Mary Queen hostel in Kadavanthra, where she had been residing. 

The complainant is originally from Kollam, and had been working at a private enterprise in Kochi. On September 24, after a colleague tested positive for the virus in her office, she moved out of her hostel and went into a government run COVID-19 observation facility in the city. A few of her colleagues too tested positive. On October 31, the woman too tested positive for the virus and was admitted for treatment. 

She finally recovered on October 7, and then as per the state government’s protocol completed an additional seven days of quarantine before returning to the hostel. Even though she was allowed to stay in the hostel, the owner of the institution says that other women living in the building had expressed certain concerns. A total of 42 women have been living in the hostel. 

“The owner was faced with complaints from other women, who was scared that a recovered covid patient was staying with them. He then asked the complainant and shifted her to a separate room, as her roommate too had expressed reservations about staying with the woman,” the SI of the Ernakulam Central Police station told TNM. 

However, as a few colleagues from the office had contracted the virus, their office had been shut and the complainant had been working from the hostel. “The other residents expressed concerns that the complainant would spend her whole day in the hostel. Despite the owner supporting the woman, he also spoke to her and asked her if moving back to her house in Kollam too is a possibility as she was anyway 'working from home'. Based on this, she moved out of the hostel and even collected a caution fund of Rs 2000,” the SI added. The police have been conducting a detailed inquiry into the incident, based on the woman’s complaint. 

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