People still treat me differently. Even before I underwent the test everyone thought I was infected and treated me rudely. And now I have tested negative and back home but still they treat me little differently. -- Laxmi Oli
DANG, March 31: After a girl who returned from France to Nepal recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the government sought the whereabouts and conditions of others who came in the same flight. This included a young woman from Dang, Laxmi Oli. As the name was also revealed, she soon became a target in her own town in Dang. According to her, everything has changed for her since then. And this continues, even when she has already tested negative for COVID-19.
"After she [the girl who returned from France] tested positive for the coronavirus, our addresses and identities were sought. Some policemen came to my house and asked me to stay in isolation. I did as told," said Oli.
Oli was admitted to Rapti Provincial Hospital. After spending four days at the hospital, she tested negative for the virus. On Sunday, she returned home.
"But people still treat me differently. Even before I underwent the test everyone thought I was infected and treated me rudely," she lamented. "And now I have tested negative and back home but still they treat me little differently," she added.
When test results came negative, her family rejoiced. She also thanked God. But the way her neighbors and others treated her has left scars in her heart, she said. She has also requested everyone to be kind toward the infected people although they have to maintain a distance to stem the spread of the disease. "I was not only tagged as infected, but I had to face serious allegations and discrimination. Such things leave deep scars in your heart. I wish nobody has to go through what I went through," she said.
She was working in Qatar for the last two years. After landing in Kathmandu, she was tested for fever at the Tribhuvan International Airport. The temperature was normal. She came home in Dang and was doing fine. But the news of a girl in the same flight who tested positive for the virus changed everything.
"Not just me, even my brother had to face social stigma because of me. People behaved in that way," she said.
As it was rumored that she has become infected, some medicals in her town even denied treatment to service seekers, she reported. On social sites, her photos went viral. This added to her pain.
"So far, photos of other suspects or infected people have not been circulated that way. But mine was done. My photo with caption – 'beware!' was posted," Oli lamented. "I am an unmarried girl, this can have consequences. I have a family that cares for me. They are hurt," she said.