The streets of Delhi are known for their noise, crowds and bustle, but Meenal Vis, a British doctor, says that when his family listens through the windows there is “absolute silence”.
“It’s almost like living in a horror movie. People are not sure what will come next, ”she said. “The kind of feeling described is a country at war.”
Vis is among a number of healthcare professionals in the UK who are deeply concerned for their loved ones in India amid an outbreak of coronavirus cases.
Concerned British doctors of Indian origin have set up a crowdfunding page to get help, including life-saving equipment. In interviews, they expressed concern about conditions in India and called for a strong global response.
Vis said: “The situation in India shows that we must do everything in our power to protect ourselves and those around us. We see what happens if the world is half vaccinated. “
Vis is part of a UN-backed initiative called Team Halo, in which doctors and scientists volunteer their time to make TikTok videos dealing with vaccine reluctance. “When I talk to my cousins about vaccination, they say it is not readily available,” she said, adding that the pandemic had highlighted health inequalities as a problem. global.
“We are all connected to some parts of the world in one way or another and we need to protect everyone,” she said.
Ajay Verma, 42, a consultant gastroenterologist and doctor working at Kettering General Hospital is another UK-based doctor worried about his Indian parents. “About 40% of the UK doctor-level workforce is of Asian descent, so a lot of the doctors here are from that part of the world. I was born in UK, but my parents are from India, so my mother’s whole family is in India, ”he said.
Verma said her family in India were “very scared” watching reports about what was happening elsewhere in the country. He said there was a feeling of “not knowing what will happen next”.
He said being away from loved ones at the moment was difficult. “You can’t do much remotely,” he said.
Dr Karan Rangarajan, 30, an NHS surgeon, also struggles not to be able to see his family in India. “Typically I would go to India two or three times a year on leave and haven’t been able to visit India for over 18 months now,” he said.
Her family there is afraid of basic chores such as shopping. “I usually try not to talk too much about the situation because they hear about it in the news and it leads to more anxiety,” he said.
“A lot of people might assume that what is happening in India is terrible, but at least it is in India. But the real tragedy is that the world won’t be safe until everyone is safe… if we let the fires of a pandemic continue to burn, those fires will eventually start in other regions. “
Chintal Patel, a general practitioner, said his uncle was in intensive care last month. “We are lucky because he was sick three weeks ago… which is crazy but he had access to medical care. It wasn’t bad then and he made it home and it’s okay. If he had gotten sick now, I’m not sure what would have happened. It’s horrible, ”she said.
“It’s important to remember that this is a global problem and a global epidemic, and as such, it takes an international global effort to end it. So we have to work together around the world. “