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Biggest worry: When hospitals turned containment zones in India


New Delhi, Apr 08: In India's biggest worry, doctors and nurses, who are at the frontline in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak, are facing the brunt of the highly contagious disease. Some of the hospitals have turned into potential coronavirus clusters and declared coronavirus containment zones.

Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai, one of the COVID-19 hotspots in India listed by the government has been temporarily shut and declared a containment zone after three doctors and 26 nurses tested positive for the highly contagious novel coronavirus.

Biggest worry: When hospitals turned containment zones in India

A probe has also been ordered to investigate the unprecedented spike in the number of cases and rapid spread of COVID-19 at the Wockhardt Hospital.

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"The hospital adheres to the highest global standards of infection and quality control. The source of the infection is identified as a 70 year old patient who was admitted to the hospital on March 17 for a cardiac emergency. The patient was asymptomatic (showed no symptoms of COVID19)," the Wockhardt hospital said in a statement.

"On March 26, the patient developed cough, and was tested for COVID19, which turned out positive. The hospital staff were unknowingly exposed to the infection in the time period. We are informing the healthcare sector at large not to be misled by asymptomatic patients," the statement added.

In a similar case, a doctor in Mumbai has shut his clinic for an indefinite period after an Italy returnee who came to him for medical advice later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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Dr Abdul Khalique, who runs a clinic in Kalina area of Santa Cruz in the metropolis, told PTI the man reached Mumbai on March 18 and came to his clinic the next day.

Meanwhile, new admissions have been stopped at Mumbai's Jaslok Hospital. Its outpatient department (OPD) has reportedly been sealed as well after the staff there had tested positive for coronavirus.

The Economic Times reported that a nurse at the hospital sent out a video message via WhatsApp alleging that the multiple staff had contracted the disease. After that, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) took cognizance of the matter.

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The Delhi State Cancer Institute (DSCI) has been shut for sanitisation after two doctors and 16 nurses tested positive for coronavirus.

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The hospital authorities also said they are taking care of its healthcare workers infected by coronavirus.

"Some of them are admitted at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital. We are very cautioned about the health of our doctors and nurses and all measure are being taken and their contact tracing has also started," he said.

Pune and many other states

In Pune, more than 90 health professionals including 42 doctors working at the DY Patil Hospital - one of the biggest in the city -- have been quarantined after a patient turned out to be coronavirus positive case. Many such cases have been reported from many other states including Rajasthan, Kerala, and Bihar. Reports suggest more than 50 health professionals have tested positive for Covid-19 in the country.

These tragic developments highlight a threat both to the individual healthcare workers battling the pandemic, and the overstressed healthcare system of India.

According to the statistics, India has one doctor for every 1,445 persons as per the country's current population estimate of 135 crore. This is lower than the WHO's prescribed norm of one doctor for 1,000 people.

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While the pandemic is forcing the health professionals to quarantine facilities, it becomes obvious that hundreds will be left without medical attention. This will also increase the pressure on already overworked doctors battling the pandemic.

Why are medical professionals more prone to virus

Health staff are more prone to coronavirus as they are exposed to viral particles and high viral load patients than the general public. Even with all the protective gear in place, the virus is one mistake away from making them sick.

Lack of full protective gear in many states has also attributed to the problem. Using raincoats, home-made masks instead of PPE, Indian doctors woefully under-protected.

The rising number of cases among medical professionals only serve to underscore the severe shortage of personal protective equipment.

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