For 72-year-old Rehana Sarin her two-bedroom flat in a Noida high-rise has been her "world" since her husband passed away 15 years ago, but she has never felt more lonely and secluded before as in the months following the coronavirus outbreak.
"I have taken the vaccine, but I know I am still susceptible to the disease. The way the coronavirus is spreading, and in view of my age, I have kind of locked myself in my flat. Earlier too, I was not going out much," said Sarin.
Dependent on her neighbours and friends for her groceries, medicines and other requirements, she asked," How long can it continue like this."
"My husband left me a two-bedroom apartment which has been my world ever since he passed away. I have a good neighbourhood in which I have friends, their children and grandchildren. But I cannot be dependent on them all the time for essentials," said Sarin, who feels more anxious by the day as cases rise across the country.
On Sunday, health ministry data showed, a record single-day rise of 2,61, 500 cases. The data for Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Budh Nagar district, in which Noida falls, on Saturday showed 402 new cases.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for people like Sarin who have been living independently and are elderly. Besides being highly susceptible to the virus, their old age has also made it difficult for them to commute and socialise, adding to their loneliness and anxiety.
"Though I manage to get essential items, it is the loneliness and anxiety that has been really bothering me," said Sarin, who became eligible for anti-coronavirus vaccination last month after the health ministry said people aged 45 and above account for about 88 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in India making them the most vulnerable section of society.
The septuagenarian said, "I am not very tech savvy but I learnt to buy basic items online."