Pointing out that Chennai emerged as the medical capital of India not only due to infrastructure but also because of the availability of senior consultants who bring in the expertise, a government medical official said the working condition has turned from bad to worse after cases started piling up. “These consultants will be at risk if they treat COVID cases,” the official said.
A Health department official from Thanjavur told DT Next that the professionals at the frontline were particularly susceptible due to the lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and N95 masks. “The quarantine centres set up by the State are functioning like relief centres, with no social distancing.
There is every possibility of the number of infections surging.” Echoing the same concern, Dr GR Ravindranath, general secretary, Doctors for Social Equality said doctors were working under grave danger, as the PPEs supplied to them are of substandard quality. “The State should distribute the protective gear like the one used in China,” said.
Stressing the importance of keeping doctors and nurses with comorbid conditions away from corona duty, he added that their present quarantine period of seven days should be doubled to two weeks as the incubation period of coronavirus is up to 14 days. “All those who resume duty should be tested for COVID. Medical professionals should only cure the infection and not pose the threat of spreading the virus,” Ravindranath added.
When asked about bodies of COVID victims being buried, Ravindranath said a section of minorities were unhappy due to ongoing hate campaign against the community. “I don’t think they will agree to cremate bodies. It is more advisable to cremate the virus-infected bodies rather than burying it with disinfectants,” he added.
When contacted, a senior official said after a doctor in Tamil Nadu tested positive, the protocols were being periodically revised. “We are examining ways to reduce the spread of the virus to medical professionals and the general public. Medical kits, N 95 masks and PPEs have started arriving through air cargoes,” the official noted. Two more air cargoes from Hong Kong and China were expected within the next 24 hours, he said, adding that this would improve the situation for healthcare staff on the field.