Kashmir: Countering Covid, Leading Pulmonologist Turns Positive; Works From Quarantine

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by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: Before moments of confirmation and counter-confirmation continued for a while, Tuesday morning news sent Kashmir into a tizzy. Valley’s one of the leading pulmonologists, Dr Naveed Nazir turned positive for Covid-19.

Specialised in tuberculosis and respiratory diseases, Dr Naveed, tested positive for the respiratory disease late on Monday night. According to the sources close to him, he had developed mild symptoms in the last few days and his swab sample was taken on Monday afternoon. The reports came to the late-night, confirming him being positive for the ailment.

‘We Are On The Brinks of Community Transmission’

Confirming the reports, Dr Naveed took on to Twitter. “I’m overwhelmed and deeply humbled by the wishes of all my known and unknown well-wishers praying for my recovery… tested positive.. followed #protocol and got #admitted … thank you everyone .. remember in prayers,” he wrote.

Leading from the front as HOD, Government Chest Diseases (CD) Hospital, Srinagar, Dr Naveed, who is in his early forties was among the frontline doctors treating the patients and managing the crisis.

Moments after his confirmation, there were few reports alleging that the doctor has doctored his reports. Saddened by the development, Dr Naveed expressed anguish and rebutted the reports, “But (I) am saddened by some reporting my report has been feigned to avoid duties … I will be the last person to do that … I”m in quarantine and working from here … available for all possible deliverable services,” he said.

He has also requested the administration to conduct testing of all frontline workers. “Request to the administration for preparing a scientific SOP for duties and testing of all frontline workers to safeguard all.”

Prayers Pour

As the news spread, the social media was flooded by the prayers and wishes for the young doctor. National Conference Vice President, Omar Abdullah wished him a speedy recovery. “Wish you a speedy & complete recovery, Dr Sahib. All the best,” he wrote on Twitter.

Praying for his health, Shia leader and former minister Imran Reza Ansari said “Dr sb Allah is with you. Inshaallah you will soon join the frontlines.”

Calling him a hero, deputy commissioner Srinagar, Dr Shahid Choudhary expressed hope to have him back soon. “While working together, closely since early March, Dr Naveed & few other colleagues made me to understand what a hero in action looks like. Wishing him speedy recovery & return to his port of call.”

“Pray for your good health. We all are praying for your wellbeing. You have been our selfless frontline worker. You have worked beyond the call of duty. Our prayers are with you. Regards,” wrote senior journalist, Peerzada Ashiq.

In his message, Mufti Islah, another senior journalist wrote, “Get well doctor. Wish you speedest recovery.”

Stop Stigmatization

Besides treating the affected patients, Dr. Naveed has been very vocal about the increasing trend of stigmatization of the disease in Kashmir. He has taken to social media to raise awareness and urged people not to stigmatize the affected people. “It can affect anyone. The disease can afflict you, me, and all those people who are discriminating against COVID19 cases, active and recovered,” he said.

In one of his tweets, he wrote, “tomorrow v can be in their place…imagine what v can go thru if u r in their place.” He urged to treat the recovered patients as normal. “Unfortunate that recovered covid patients are being stigmatized by society and denied basic amenities…please treat them as normal.”

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