BENGALURU: A 14-year-old boy who returned from Mumbai and was quarantined at a government institution in Raichur, died early on Thursday. This is the second death at a quarantine centre in Karnataka, in the past 15 days.
“This is a matter of serious concern. The State government has to immediately look into it. Regular monitoring of health of those in quarantine is important, we don’t know what problems they have faced during the lockdown,” said Dr Silvia Karpagam, public health activist.
The boy’s aunt, in a video message which is with TNIE, said that they had brought her brother’s son home, hoping he would be safer here. They were quarantined in Devdurga taluk. “We came here on May 16. Three days ago, my nephew complained of knee pain and was treated by the doctor,” she said. However, on Wednesday night, the boy allegedly started complaining of severe abdominal pain.
“Despite requests and even after saying that he was crying in pain, the ambulance arrived only early Thursday, and he had died by the time they reached hospital,” the aunt alleged. This raises serious concerns about medical care in quarantine centres. Raichur District Commissioner told TNIE, “Every quarantine centre has a health professional to monitor their health.
We are yet to get details in this case.” Contracting the infection at a centre is another risk as it can become like a hotspot if care is not taken. The boy had tested negative on May 29, but had to be kept in quarantine for a longer time, as nearly 50 people in the hostel tested positive. He became a primary contact and was kept in isolation with his aunt, and his test results were awaited.
A senior health official said that health monitoring is done orally for BP, diabetes, HIV etc. “But how do you expect these poor people to know all this? Many might be scared to reveal their health conditions,” he said. There has to be a proper mechanism in place to register morbidities, and also check for vitals, said health experts.
“It is a challenging situation but the state government should come up with measures and have master checkups before quarantining these people,” said Dr Silvia. Health workers in Kerala know a lot more about quarantine and containment zones, but it’s not so in Karnataka. “It’s better to accept that we don’t have a trained system in place to handle this pandemic and then work around it,” she added. On May 20, a 55-year-old woman had died of cardiac arrest at a quarantine centre in Mandya, and in that case too, relatives had accused health officials of failing to provide timely treatment.