As panic over the novel coronavirus spreads among the populace, experts have said that it is important for people to be given counseling for the fears they harbour about the disease.

Chief Medical Officer of Health of North Dinajpur, Dr Rabindranath Pradhan, is one such expert, who, despite his busy schedule amid the coronavirus threat, is taking time off to counsel persons over the telephone with regards to the virus, the fears associated with it and its spread.

One such person he has recently counselled is a software engineer of Kharagpur in Midnapur, Supriya Nandi, who though he had COVID- 19 just because he started falling ill.In a social media post, Mr Nandi has expressed his gratitude to Dr Pradhan for his “great counseling,” which he said helped him recover from his “mental agony.”

“I work as a software engineer in Mumbai. Last week, after news of the spread of COVID-19, I travelled back home in Kharagpur. I soon had cough, while the negative news around us left me to think that I had contracted the novel coronavirus. I stopped eating out of fear and failed to sleep,” Mr Nandi said.

“I tried contacting doctors on the National Helpline for COVID-19. Then I found the contact number of the Chief Medical Officer of Health of North Dinajpur, Dr Rabindranath Pradhan. He gave me a patient hearing and asked me about all my symptoms and noted my travel history. After analyzing all parameters, he informed me that I was suffering from normal cough and found no symptoms of COVID-19. He, however, advised me to stay at home for 14 days. In the last few days, I have called him several times, and each time he has received my phone has been very patient with me as he continued counselling me and tried to convince me that nothing was wrong with my health,” he added.

“I now feel a lot better and my fear and panic seem to have gone. I am still under home quarantine and am taking full assistance of our local health officials,” he said. Dr Pradhan said it was his duty to help people suffering from such trauma, given the scale of the disease worldwide.

“At the same time, we should convince people that though they have no symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain in quarantine to save his family members and others around his/her society,” he said.