69 per cent citizens want Govt to issue ‘COVID Warrior’ certificate to COVID-19 recovered: LocalCircles survey

61 per cent feel Aadhaar linkage is best way to enable a COVID Warrior certificate

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many countries to their knees. Countries like India who went into an early lockdown and managed to slow down spread of the infection are now struggling to control the spread of COVID-19 and get the economy back on track simultaneously. Businesses have been incurring huge losses as sales have reduced and lakhs of people have lost their jobs. On the other hand, many industries are facing a labour shortage as most of the migrant labour have gone back to their native towns and villages. Many of them do not want to come back and those who do want to return, are facing problems with moving back to their work areas.

Having said that, there may be a way in which people who have recovered from COVID-19 might be issued a ‘COVID Warrior’ certificate/identification which could enable their free and easy movement and in some cases enable them to find livelihood.

After Dr Abdul Ghafur, a leading infection expert based in Chennai proposed the COVID warrior certificate concept on LocalCircles, a community social media platform, a survey was conducted to get public opinion to see if this was a workable proposal and what could be the best way to implement it.

LocalCircles will submit a copy of the findings of the survey to senior leaders in the Central Government, Ministry of Health, ICMR as well as UIDAI and request them to consider such a concept and if feasible, move it to fast implementation.

The survey received over 16,000 votes from people located across 212 districts of India. 67 per cent respondents were men while 33 per cent respondents were women. 51 per cent respondents were from tier 1, 33 per cent from tier 2 and 16 per cent respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.

In the first question, citizens were asked if the Government should consider issuing a COVID Warrior certificate to individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, so they can take up jobs in COVID hotspots or ones that require more person-to-person contact. In response, 69 per cent answered ‘yes’ while only 15 per cent answered with a ‘no’. 16 per cent were unsure about it.

In India, around 2.4 million people have already recovered from COVID-19 and have become healthy again. “We do know that those individuals recovered from infection are immune to reinfection for a significant period, and we haven’t witnessed any significant challenge of large-scale reinfection. Seven months after the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, there have been no confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in India as per ICMR and just a single case at global level”, said Dr. Ghafur.

“COVID infected individuals, after their complete recovery should be permitted to travel without restrictions at regional and global levels and be viewed as soldiers in our war against COVID”, continued Dr. Ghafur.

His rationale is that one in 10 families soon will have at least one member who has been COVID recovered. Most companies will have employees who are COVID recovered. “Allowing these individuals to travel and work freely, would be equivalent of having over 15 lakh soldiers in our national effort to alleviate the economic consequences and poverty inflicted by the COVID pandemic,” he said.

“Such individuals can serve as front line workers in fields of employment such as healthcare, law enforcement, media and other organisations in both private and public sector. They could travel by road, rail, and air without restrictions. They can be encouraged to execute jobs that require national and international travel that would potentially be riskier to the individuals unsensitised to the SARS-COVI 2 virus. A ‘COVID Warrior’ certificate or identification will help lakhs of daily wage workers even in containment zones in our country to commute and make a living. Thousands of individuals join the COVID recovered list on a daily basis, strengthening our army of COVID recovered and immune warriors, ready to contribute actively to our economy,” as per Dr Ghafur.

In the next question citizens were asked if the Government agrees to issue a COVID warrior certificate/identification to all who recovered from it so they can move freely and help the economy function, what would be the best way of doing it? 61 per cent said it should be integrated with the Aadhaar, while 30 per cent said it should be made a separate identification.

The LocalCircles release notes that since ICMR has the recorded details of all COVID recovered patients in the country, the same could easily be linked up with UIDAI to create a new ‘COVID Warrior or Recovered” field in the Aadhaar card. After a patient recovers from COVID-19, the status on their Aadhaar Card can possibly be updated to ‘COVID Warrior/Recovered as Yes’ and they could easily take a print out of their Aadhaar Card, and show it at various checkpoints to gain access to unrestricted movement even in the containment zones. While such an identification would be available, it is totally up to the individual if they would like to use this identifier when seeking opportunities.

Many experts from around the world have warned about an imminent second wave of the coronavirus. One of the most important reasons for the economic crisis is the existing travel restriction locally and globally. Issuing a COVID Warrior certificate or identification valid for say six months to the recovered patients might solve a lot of issues that people and businesses are facing and would help hundreds of thousands earn their livelihood or improve their earnings.

COVID Warrior certificateCOVID-19Dr Abdul GhafurLocalCircles
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