Rashmi Ranjan

Kalyansinghpur: In times of despair, reports pertaining to Covid-19 stigma are quite prevalent in many interior pockets of the State. In another such instance, members of Dongria Kondh living in Niyamgiri hills of Rayagada district on Monday refused to undergo Covid-19 test. 

The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) expressed open reluctance to the diagnosis at a medical camp which was set up following reports that several members were afflicted with coronavirus. A total of 19 people belonging to the Dongaria Kondh tribe are affected by the disease, sources said.    

"Covid-19 does not exist. Nothing will happen to us as we worship Niyam Raja," said Niyamgiri Surakhya Manch president Sakaka Ulaka justifying the reason behind their hesitation to the test.

According to source, the tribal community were supposed to undergo Covid test at a camp set up at Parsali on the foot of Niyamgiri hills.

Even after the health department team reached the spot to carry out Covid test, the tribal community did not cooperate with them, sources added.

“Despite convincing them, many are not willing to undergo Covid-19 test. We have talked to head of the community and another round of discussion will be held for the testing. We will come tomorrow again for sample collection,” said Kalucharan Nayak, Kalyansinghpur BDO.

Notably, Odisha on Monday reported 10,757 new Covid-19 cases of which 136 were detected in Rayagada district.