Covid-19 patients or suspected ones, including even the frontline fighters such as doctors and police members, have to face a lack of empathy in society, making their fight against the disease more difficult.
Many people behave inhumanely with coronavirus patients fearing not to get access to healthcare and financial losses.
Although there has been an increase in the awareness level of people four months after the Covid-19 outbreak, the social stigma associated with the disease is still out there.
Speakers said this at 5th edition of Peace Talk Cafe styled "Fighting to demons: Frontline workers and patients fight covid-19 and stigmatisation", organised by UNDP's Digital Khichuri Challenge on Monday.
Sayedur Rahman, superintendent of police of Gopalganj; Mahbub Alam Biplob, assistant professor at Dhaka Medical College Hospital; journalist Farabi Hafiz of Channel24; and Tawsia Tazmim, staff correspondent of The Business Standard attended the webinar as panellists.
Sharing his experience as a Covid-19 patient, Farabi Hafiz said he had to go to his office amid the coronavirus outbreak for professional reasons. He used to do his office from his sister's place leaving his wife and minor child at home.
In the meantime, he tested positive for the virus in May. Getting the new, someone from among his neighbours placed a sack in front of the front door of his house so that no member of his family can come out.
Farabi said he was already worried about his illness, but non-cooperation and neglect from people around him during such a time made him feel more stressed and less worthy.
"Because I work in the media, people often want to take photos with me. But during my illness, they behaved like as if they do not want to see me. As if looking at me were a sin that time."
SP Sayedur Rahman said they have had to resolve various issues like not allowing coronavirus patients to live in the house, not allowing patients' relatives to do shopping in the market, and obstructing burials or cremations of Covid-19 infected people.
He, however, claimed the stigma has reduced to some extent by now.
Discussants at the webinar said stigma cannot continue for long during this pandemic time. The crisis will end if positive and appropriate information is disseminated and public awareness is raised.
Facing the pandemic will be easier if everyone offers mental support to everyone else maintaining safe physical distance.