Millennium Post

Some 600 healthcare workers in grip of COVID-19

New Delhi: In a shocking revelation it has come to the notice that Coronavirus has infected about 600 doctors, nurses and paramedics across the country. According to the data maintained by the Centre, there is an increase in the trend of doctors getting infected with the virus as the medical practitioners are more exposed to the virus while treating COVID-19 positive cases.

However, if the data of the Indian Medical Association is to be taken into account, the number of infected healthcare workers may go up to 1,000 as the rate of infection amongst healthcare workers is found to be between 20 per cent 30 per cent of all cases worldwide. At present, the cases in India accounts to 1.6 per cent of global cases.

According to the Health Ministry's report, which has no mention of field workers, ward boys, sanitation workers, security guards, lab attendants, peons, laundry and kitchen staff among others who have also been infected, the number of infected health professionals stand at about 600 in the country.

However, in reply to a question on how these medical professionals got infected, the official sources said that it has not been ascertained from where these doctors, nurses and paramedic staff have acquired the infection.

While in contrary to it, joint secretary (health) Lav Agarwal had recently said that if health professionals do not take precautions they will get infected and some health professionals have been infected in parties, while some during the patient care.

"No epidemiological investigation of the cases has been done. So there is no clear segregation on how many contracted the disease at the workplace and how many got it from the community," the sources said, adding that about 80 doctors in Delhi have so far contracted the disease. As per the reports, when in Mumbai more number of doctors and nurses were tested COVID-19 positive, two major hospitals were made containment zones as several staff and doctors were infected.

Similarly, seven resident doctors and seven nurses — including a staff nurse, an assistant matron and five nursing students — had tested COVID-19 positive in Sion Hospital, while at the civic-run KEM Hospital, the COVID-19 positive cases rose to 10 after two resident doctors tested positive.

Besides, 274 nurses and paramedics have so far been infected by the virus. As many as 13 healthcare personnel, including seven resident doctors and a professor, have tested positive for Coronavirus over the past two months at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, the sources said.

Around 10 healthcare workers, including a resident doctor and five nurses, have contracted the disease so far at the AIIMS. Besides, some security guards have also been infected in the premier hospital.

While talking to Millennium Post, SAARC Medical Association president Dr Ravi Wankhedkar said, "Doctors are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection. The hazards include pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, and physical and psychological violence."

"Lack of PPE, exposure to high viral loads, poor working conditions, increased working hours, mental and physical stress, etc are supposed to contribute the increased infection rate," Wankhedkar said.

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