Mumbai: Private hospitals limit visits, demand travel history to prevent spread of COVID-19

Updated: 13 March, 2020 07:36 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Parel's Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) has asked patients to avoid travelling to the hospital unless absolutely necessary

File pic
File pic

Private hospitals across the city are limiting visiting hours and discouraging doctors from travelling within the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Parel's Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) has asked patients to avoid travelling to the hospital unless absolutely necessary. The travel history of all old and new patients and staff is also being collected. Those with a travel history to any of the 17 countries considered at risk are being asked to observe self-quarantine.

Arrangements have also been made to isolate critically ill patients with COVID-19 who cannot travel. "Doctors have been urged to cancel travel plans to other countries or within India," Dr. C. S. Pramesh, director of TMH said. Another doctor at TMH said that various events have been cancelled or postponed. For instance, the SIOP Asia conference on paediatric oncology, which was to be held from March 27 to 29 in Mumbai, has been postponed.

Dr. Hardik Ajmera, deputy medical director of Saifee Hospital, said they have limited the entry of visitors.

A member of the Saifee Hospital's administration said they are suspending visiting hours in phases, starting with the ICU.

"From March 13, no visitors will be allowed in the ICU where critical patients are kept. Only one attendant will be allowed with the patient. They will be screened before entering. Those with a travel history to high-risk areas will also be screened with infrared thermometers," said an official, adding that anyone displaying symptoms will be taken to Kasturba Hospital and ambulances will be cleaned after every trip.

At Global Hospital, the few visitors being allowed are made to fill a questionnaire. "We are asking everyone about their recent travel and medical history and allowing entry accordingly," said Dr. Prashant Borade, Head, Critical Care Unit at Global Hospital. The H N Reliance Foundation Hospital in Girgaon is checking the temperature of patients and staff before they enter the hospital.

"Every day, doctors, visitors, employees, vendors are screened at entry points by paramedical workers and security. All leaves have been cancelled. Seminars and conferences are suspended. Awareness and not panic will help us sail through this," said Dr. Tarang Gianchandani, CEO of the hospital.

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First Published: 13 March, 2020 07:25 IST

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