Not ready to risk lives without PPEs: Bengaluru medical staff

Health department says more kits will be distributed from today and all secondary contacts of corona cases will be tested.

Published: 13th April 2020 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th April 2020 05:59 AM   |  A+A-

coronavirus lockdown

Health workers in personal protective suits. (Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The medical fraternity has raised serious concerns over the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) after a doctor in the city tested positive for COVID-19, even as the government said it would meet the demand from Monday.

A doctor of Shifa Hospital who tested positive for the disease was shifted to the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases and then to Victoria Hospital, exclusively dedicated to coronavirus cases. 

As many as 20 medical staff who were exposed to the doctor have been quarantined. As the development came close on the heels of a 32-year-old orthopedic succumbing to COVID-19 in Indore, healthcare workers here said the paucity of PPE exposed them serious health hazards.

Doctors, nurses and ASHA workers are now threatening that they will not put their lives at risks without PPEs. Asked why the government is not in preparedness although the first COVID-19 death of Karnataka occurred almost a month ago, Health Minister  B Sriramulu said that the government would provide PPE kits to everybody “in stages over the next one week”.  

“PPE kits have arrived and they would be distributed to all health workers”, he said. It can be recalled that no doctor had visited a quarantine facility where COVID-19 suspects were housed, for 12 days.

They were kept in a large room and most of them were attended only by the nursing staff. All of them tested negative for the disease later. But the incident left a scar in the minds of the quarantined people. While the government patted its own back for keeping the coronavirus graph flatter than in many other states, experts hit out at the government saying it managed to keep numbers down as secondary contacts of COVID-19 cases were not tested. 

Sriramulu told The New Indian Express that they would start testing secondary contacts too from Monday or Tuesday in  hotspots like Kalaburagi and Chikkaballapur. “About one lakh test kits have arrived in the state. All the secondary contacts right from the first COVID-19 victim who died in Kalaburagi will be tested as per the standard protocols starting on Monday on Tuesday depending on the areas”, a senior health official said.


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