Three difficult months followed during which 23 residents died of Covid, 5,157 were placed in institutional quarantine and more than 1 lakh isolated themselves at home. “It was a very bad time for us,” says Nazneen Bano, a housewife. “We were strictly confined to our homes and ran out of flour twice as the government’s ration was not enough.”
The restriction on people’s movement hurt livelihoods. Many of the residents are artisans who work in Jaipur’s famous gems and jewellery workshops. Others drive e-rickshaws and cabs, or work as guards. “Many lost their jobs,” says Sandeep Agarwal, a jeweller in Ramganj. And as the area became synonymous with Covid in Jaipur, landlords lost tenants. “People moved out as their employers were wary of letting them come to work,” says Agarwal.
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They might never forget it but Ramganj’s long nightmare is over. There have been few new cases since late June. Most residents have found work, and the streets are alive again. The people have had to adapt. Some are stitching masks for a livelihood now. Others sell vegetables and even work as casual labour. “We are determined to get our lives back on track. I am sure once this pandemic is over, all these hardships will be forgotten,” says Muzaffar Aqleen, a resident.
Qayyum Akhtar, another resident, says the city administration, police and the health authorities all played a role in the fight, but ultimately, “people overcame the fear of Covid with patience.” Officials in Jaipur agree.
“When the first case was reported in Ramganj, local people were scared and we encountered stiff resistance from them. They were not cooperating,” says Dr Narrottam Sharma, chief medical health officer for the area. The health department roped in religious leaders, local doctors and other influential people to convince them about the importance of contact tracing, testing and screening. Slowly, they cornered the virus. “They have won their battle against the disease,” declares Sharma.
(This story is part of a series in association with Facebook. Facebook has no editorial role in this story.)