The Delhi government has issued a circular that would require all doctors, nurses and paramedics in non-Covid hospitals, who have caught the Covid infection or become a close contact of an infected person, to provide a written explanation of how they landed in such a situation.
A letter sent out by Padmini Singla, health and family welfare secretary, Delhi government, asked all medical directors to provide a written explanation on how the health workers contracted the disease despite wearing protective gear, maintaining safe distancing and taking all precautions.
The Delhi government said that medical directors are “indiscriminately” sending such health staff for quarantine to hotels and their homes for a period of 14 days.
“This practise is causing an unnecessary shortage of doctors and staff in hospitals...It seems it is happening because either hospitals are not following the standard operating procedures or such persons are not following the guidelines prescribed for health workers,” Singla said in her letter.
Many hospitals are grappling with the shortage of personal protective equipment and are rationing their use. Such gear is mostly being used by doctors dealing with suspected Covid cases. Several doctors, who have been found to be infected, were not dealing with Covid patients.
An eight-month pregnant nurse at the emergency ward of a Delhi hospital said she was coming in contact with suspicious patients but all facilities of testing and precautions were being given only to doctors and not to nursing staff.
“I stood for two hours to get myself tested but I was pushed out...I could not get tested,” she said. In the letter, Singla also asked all the medical directors to constitute a team of doctors to “ascertain whether a contact fulfils the government’s guidelines to be declared as the contact of a positive patient.”