The coronavirus (Covid-19) patients under home isolation in Punjab will no longer have to suffer the fear and stigma of social isolation resulting from posters affixed to the entrance of their homes.

For mitigating such stigma attached to the Covid pandemic, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday rescinded his government’s earlier decision of putting posters outside the houses of Covid patients under home isolation or quarantine.

The CM also directed that such posters may be removed from those places where they have already been put.

The move is aimed at minimising the stigma resulting from the affixing of such posters to the front doors of Covid patients‘ houses, which will also negate the fear of testing, said Capt Amarinder, even as he again appealed to the people to come out for early testing, diagnosis and treatment of Covid.

The psychological trauma which patients were seen suffering as a result of these posters, which were meant to protect neighbours and others from such patients, was defeating the very purpose, he said, adding that these posters were actually found scaring people away from testing. The “undesirable and unintended consequences” of these posters included social isolation and stigma, leading to anxiety and prejudices against the Covid patients. People would refrain from getting tested to avoid this stigma instead of extending support and community to the patients and their families, which had prompted a rethink on the decision of affixing posters, said Capt Amarinder.

The CM urged the people to continue taking all necessary precautions and follow all applicable guidelines for home isolation notwithstanding the removal of the posters. The violation of these guidelines is a punishable offence under the Disaster Management Act, the Epidemic Diseases Act and the IPC, he said.

The Punjab government had recently allowed home isolation for asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic Covid patients, who did not suffer from any co-morbidities. As the number of cases in the state continued to rise, home isolation for these patients was actively advocated and facilitated, with constant monitoring by local health authorities.

In an apparent bid to “make the community aware and act as a check” on possible violations of the home isolation guidelines by a Covid patient, posters declaring that a coronavirus positive patient was under home isolation were being affixed to the front door of his house.