COVID-19 impact: 'People jumping quarantine are going out on holidays'

Updated: 30 March, 2020 10:47 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

Overworked doctors and health workers battling COVID-19 round the clock narrate their struggles, while pleading with citizens to stay indoors

Doctors suggest enrolling medical practitioners who have worked on ad hoc basis in the past
Doctors suggest enrolling medical practitioners who have worked on ad hoc basis in the past

The situation is fast turning worrisome with people defying the government's lockdown orders to stay indoors. Above all, those told to self-quarantine are holidaying in Alibaug, Matheran and other places, said most of the doctors mid-day spoke to on Sunday.

While many health care workers and doctors, on the front line of the fight against Coronavirus, in Mumbai and Palghar haven't returned home since the lockdown, most are able to see their familie for just a few hours. Even as they continue to work round the clock to contain the disease, some people are blatantly ignoring their advise and risking infecting others.

The doctors said when health workers visited the homes of self-quarantined people, they found the doors locked, and on asking around, the neighbours told them that they have gone on a holiday with their family.

Doctors ask people to follow home quarantine guidelines
Doctors ask people to follow home quarantine guidelines

"My children and husband wait every night for me to come home for dinner, but my duty keeps me at the hospital as I try to convince thick-headed people who have been stamped with home quarantine (HQ) to remain indoors. But these people, living in posh high-rises of South Mumbai, drove their lavish car packed with family members, to Alibaug and Matheran," said a civic doctor. A doctor, who gave birth to twins recently, has been working tirelessly. "Before the outbreak, my husband or house help used to bring the twins to hospital [for breastfeeding] but it is not recommended now. So, I feed my babies only after returning home," she said.

Another doctor told mid-day how little he get to see his wife and children these days. "But they understand that we are on a mission to fight the deadly virus. It is very challenging and risky. But we have been given enough protective kits like hand gloves, masks, sanitisers, etc," he said.

Many doctors have suggested that the government consider bringing on board medical practitioners who have worked on ad hoc basis in the past to "ease the workload".

'Living at the PHC'
In Palghar district, a female staff of a Primary Health Centre (PHC) has "been living at the PHC since the day of the lockdown. My children call me every day to ask when I will be back home." Another health worker told mid-day, "We live in tribal belt of Palghar district and the villagers have closed all the entry points. Fearing I will bring the virus home, they have told me to return only after the lockdown ends. So I have been living at the PHC..."

Vasai-Virar Mayor Praveen Shetty said there are enough transport facility for the health care staff. "There are 328 passengers in quarantine at 11 hotels in Vasai-Virar. Around 130 doctors, 108 para medical staff and 400 safai karamchari are on duty." He added that it is very difficult to convince people asked to self-quarantine to remain indoors. "We have asked them to follow the instructions or else strict action will be taken against them," he said.

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First Published: 30 March, 2020 07:20 IST

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