Andhra working class unaware of coronavirus symptoms- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA:  While the government officials are working overtime to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and organising awareness campaigns on the steps to be taken to fight off the deadly contagion, a section of the working class – migrant workers, especially those working in the construction sector – are not aware of the symptoms of the disease nor do they know the preventive measures to be taken.  

For instance, many among the hundreds of working class people, especially the migrant workers, who gather near Benz Circle, Eluru Lakulu and Chitti Nagar in the city in search of livelihood are unaware of the symptoms and precautionary measures to be followed in preventing the spread of the pandemic. Not even the contractors who hire the workers are making provisions for hand sanitisers or soaps at the construction sites. B Rajesh from Machavaram told TNIE he learnt about the spread of the virus through his fellow workers only a week ago. 

But, he was unaware of the symptoms and necessary preventive measures to be taken to be safe from the contagion. He wanted the Labour department to make sure that the contractors provided him and his fellow workers the necessary precautionary gear, such as face masks, at the construction sites as they couldn’t afford to purchase the same on their own.

Another migrant labourer S Govindamma said her contractor orally instructed her to purchase face mask and soaps as the spread of virus took place through sneezing and coughing. 

“We are requesting the authorities concerned to organise special medical camps for the workers, especially for those working in the construction sector, as they are unaware of the symptoms and precautionary measures to be followed in preventing the spread of virus,” she said, and requested the government to provide necessary financial assistance to them if the construction activity came to a standstill due to the pandemic.

A senior official of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) said the matter would be taken to the notice of Collector A Md Imtiaz and Labour Department officials, and that  a medical camp would be organised in the city for migrant labourers who will be taught  about the symptoms and precautionary measures to be followed.

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