In Thiruvananthapuram on Friday, a doctor and her team visited a containment zone only to be coughed on and intimidated by a mob there. The mob of nearly 50 people swarmed the vehicle banging on the windows, one person even put their head in through the window and coughed on the team.
The events shocked many, and the behaviour has been condemned by Kerala's health minister KK Shailaja calling the situation dangerous.
Doctor and team in Kerala attacked by a mob
In Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, a doctor and a team of health workers visited a containment zone they were supposed to collect swabs in the area in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, their work was interrupted by a mob that surrounded their vehicle as they approached the centre.
The mob attacked the vehicle, banging on doors and windows as well as abusing those inside the vehicle, the 25-year-old doctor told NDTV. When the driver rolled down his window to ask the mob to move, a man stuck his head into the car coughing and saying that "If we have COVID, you should have it too."
The doctor alerted authorities upon reaching the Community Health Centre. The Health Minister of the state KK Shailaja contacted the doctor to lend her support and console her. Moreover, the team of health workers and the doctor have had to undergo the test and observe a quarantine.
Addressing the attack, Minister KK Shailaja told the media, "We have been doing very intensive tests in this area. It's a focus for health workers. They are working very sacrificially. Instead of supporting them, it's very scary to hear that a doctor's vehicle was attacked by people. If they are attacked, who will treat people? People can protest, but they cannot do so gathering in groups and that too without masks or social distancing. The situation is very dangerous."
The doctor and her team were not aware of any ongoing protests at the time in the area and became unfortunate victims of the incident. Pinarayi Vijayan has said that there is politics at play, "People in Kerala are understanding and supportive but strict action will be taken against those instigating people, especially with disinformation."