As helicopters from the Indian Air Force fly over hospitals treating coronavirus patients and shower petals as a tribute to the corona warriors and military bands play “patriotic tunes” outside various civil hospitals, doctors across India demand more safety and PPE kits amid their shortage during COVID-19 pandemic. Citing examples of how there is still a lacking of protective gears for hospital janitors and other medical staff, the doctors the government to prioritise more concrete measure. Also Read - Unlock 1: Over 9,800 Cases Recorded in Last 24 Hours; Religious Institutions Prepare For Staggered Opening

In an interview with The Quint, a medical officer working at a community health centre in Jharkhand’s Garhwa shared her experience of screening migrant labourers who returned to the state recently and were quarantined at a government shelter. She revealed, “While the senior doctors and the AYUSH doctors were given proper N-95 masks, the other staff who were present during the screening, like Multi Purpose Workers (MPWs), anganwadi workers, etc and were directly coming in contact with migrant workers were only given ordinary masks. The government must do something for them.” Also Read - Once Team Management Decides Something, I Don't Think There Should be a Place For Contrarian View: Wriddhiman Saha

Another doctor from Pune, Dr Subarna Sarkar working in COVID ward at Sassoon General Hospital, was of the same opinion as she shared how the hospital janitors, who are vital to keeping a hospital running since they clean the floors, dispose the trash and handle bodies of the COVID-19 victims, are often least prioritised . She said, “A little bit of clapping feels good but a big tableau is not needed right now. It yields absolutely no concrete results and is a diversion of resources, time and focus from things that are far more important at the moment. I don’t think one big tableau can change the mindset of the whole country. Maybe the government could refocus its attention to help them (janitors) better?” Also Read - Coronavirus: Amid Surge in Cases in Capital, Delhi Government Issues New SOPs For COVID Hospitals | Read Here

Appreciating the efforts of the armed forces to boost the morale of the frontline workers, a junior resident doctor at PGIMS, Rohtak, says, “Doctors work in strenuous conditions continuously. The event planned by the Armed Forces can provide a psychological relief for them. The healthcare workers will be definitely motivated and there will be better participation. Having said that, I also feel that appreciation should come secondary to ensuring basic needs for COVID-19 fighters.”

Mumbai’s final year student and resident doctor at JJ Hospital, Dr Shivang Shukla said, “A little appreciation will not do any harm, it does feel special. But, as a doctor I would also like some more concrete measures from the government like providing PPEs to all, better implementation of government directives, etc.”

A junior resident doctor at RG Kar Medical College Hospital in Kolkata said, “These small gimmicks will not help at all. For doctors, true appreciation can only come from a patient. Unfortunately, these one-day events will not change the suspicion, the spurt in violence or the stigma against doctors. Appreciation cannot be a single-day event. It has to be inculcated in the minds of the people.”

Earlier on Friday, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat had announced that the three services will carry out a series of activities to thank the “corona warriors”. The thanks-giving activities will start with laying of wreaths at the police memorial in Delhi and in several other cities to honour the police personnel deployed for enforcement of the nationwide lockdown. It will be followed by fly-pasts by fighter jets and transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, covering a sizeable number of cities and towns across the country beginning 10 AM.

Navy officials said the Western Naval Command will illuminate five naval ships from 7:30 PM to 11:59 PM off the Gateway of India in Mumbai. They would display banners like “India Salutes Corona Warriors” and will sound the siren of the ships and fire flares at 7:30 PM at anchorage. Additionally, the Naval air stations at Goa would organise a human chain on the runway to honour the ‘corona warriors’. The Eastern Naval Command will illuminate two ships at anchorage from 7:30 pm to midnight at Visakhapatnam coast.