COVID-19 scare takes big toll on anti-dengue efforts

By Hina Kiyani

RAWALPINDI: The scare of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has added to the difficulties of the outdoor anti-dengue surveillance teams as they are being denied entry in many households on the assumptions of being possible virus carriers. The female surveillance teams that pay door-to-door visits to inspect the houses for dengue larvae are not allowed indoors amid virus fears.
The anti-dengue surveillance teams complained that during the past three days, the residents of around 95 per cent houses refused to let them in to check the presence of dengue larvae. Besides denying entry, the people also fight with them when they explain why inspection was necessary prior to the dengue season. “They even say indecent words to us†, they regretted.
The anti-dengue teams further decried that they travel to remote areas despite the lockdown situation but they are not given access to houses amid virus fear. The dwellers contend that they may contract coronavirus from the anti-dengue surveillance workers, they told.
This situation has created immense difficulties for the outdoor teams by the officials as they are marked absent if they do not submit a daily progress report to them. The officials do not accept any excuse in this regard, they noted. People ask them to return for dengue inspection once the situation due to the pandemic got back to normal, the anti-dengue teams said.
Moreover, the lockdown situation has impacted the ongoing anti-dengue campaign terribly as many businesses are closed as a precautionary measure against the pandemic virus and hence, they could not be checked from inside. The grave situation may lead to a dengue outbreak in Rawalpindi this year as well.