Nosy neighbours track ‘infected persons’

Delhi Police claims they received more than a thousand calls in the last two days

March 25, 2020 12:19 am | Updated 12:19 am IST - NEW DELHI

Sushant Sharma (name changed), who lives on the fifth floor of a society in south-west Delhi, was shocked to see health department officials and policemen at his door on Sunday. When asked what they were doing at his home, Mr. Sharma was told that they got a call from the housing society about “COVID-19 infected persons” in the building.

“My son had come back from London a few days ago and my neighbour knew about it. But he was allowed to come out of the airport only after the screening process and was declared fit. But some neighbours made the call. We showed the documents to the team and they went back,” said Mr. Sharma.

On Tuesday, Delhi Police said they have received more than a thousand calls giving “information” about “COVID-19 infected persons” living in their vicinity in the last two days. “We transfer all such calls to the health department for action. A police team is also sent to the location for any assistance. But most of these calls were found fake and made by some nosy neighbours,” said a senior police officer.

Several residents and resident welfare associations have taken on a vigilante role after the outbreak of the pandemic with reports on social media suggesting that doctors and airline staff are special targets in many areas.

Entry banned

“We have banned the entry of newspaper vendors, food-delivery boys, courier boys and any other person except the residents. It has been kind of a self-imposed family quarantine to prevent residents from getting infected. We communicate through WhatsApp groups and keep residents well informed about any new safety provision,” said Munna Kunar, an RWA member in east Delhi

Another RWA member said they are keeping watch on houses marked “home under quarantine’’ by the health department. Security guards have been ordered to keep watch if any person of the marked house comes out.

On Monday, an FIR was registered against a family in Dwarka for violating the home quarantine rule.

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