Munaf Patel spreads social distancing message in his village in Gujarat

Written by Devendra Pandey
| Mumbai |

Published: April 14, 2020 12:31:48 am


Munaf Patel won the World Cup in 2011. (Source: Express Photo)

Former India pacer Munaf Patel is busy spreading the message of social distancing after four persons tested positive for Covid-19 in Gujarat’s Bharuch district last week.

Patel is part of a committee in his village Ikhar that helps people in the vicinity to deal with the virus.

On April 10, four individuals tested positive in the district which had hitherto not seen any cases. The four cases were detected among members of a Majilis-e-Soora Jamaat travelling from Tamil Nadu and put up at a mosque on the outskirts of the village.

A World Cup winner and an influential figure in the region, Patel was asked by the local administration to spread the message of social distancing. The popular cricketer was more than willing and took to the road on his bike to be at the village market and address the people there.

“Things were normal till last week when four positive cases were found. The whole village has been sealed and we are under lockdown now. The panchayat and the committee which I’m part of has ensured that essential commodities reach homes.” Patel told The Indian Express.

He believes social distancing is much easier to practice in villages as houses in his area are not clustered. After he retired from the game, Patel chose to live in his village where he is still called ‘Munna’.

“Barring a few places, most houses are spread out. It’s not like a city where one shares walls with neighbours. So social distancing is easy to follow in villages. It’s simple: Don’t stay in groups, wash your hands frequently,” Patel advises.

“The other day, the local administration wanted me to request people to follow social distancing; they took me to a nearby district and a small village. I went and requested the people to follow what has been told. I don’t want the virus to enter and create havoc in my village,” he said.

READ | Munaf Patel, who once earned Rs 35 a day, retires a happy man

Even before the positive cases were detected, Patel and his committee had planned how to go deal with the potential problem. It was decided that poor families will be given priority; that ration will be sent to them first. The local authorities were requested to allow the farmers to work in the fields since it was harvest time.

The administration agreed but put in place a basic protocol of social distancing.

The next task for Patel and his committee is handling the Ramzan period which starts on April 24.

“We are working towards Ramzan now. We have requested the vendors to store fruits and all other essential commodities. The panchayat and the committee have planned to cook food and distribute it door to door during Ramzan. Things are back to normal here. Those who were positive were taken for treatment and those who were in touch with them were sent for quarantine,” he added.

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