Doctors, nurses ostracized, asked to vacate rented accommodations, harassed as state prepares for Covid-19

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Mar 30: Some of the doctors and nurses who are staying in rented accommodations in the capital complex are being harassed by the house owners, following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
The state has reported no positive case. However, this has not stopped the frontline workers in the capital from being harassed and stigmatized.
Some frontline staffers are being asked to leave their rented accommodations, while some have been asked not to come back till the pandemic is over.
In one instance, a nurse of a private hospital was told to stop going to the hospital during the pandemic, so that no one in the building is endangered.
The Indian Medical Association’s Arunachal chapter (IMA-AP) said it has received reports of harassment and has taken them up with the state government.
Health Secretary P Parthiban said that accommodation for emergency and ICU personnel has been identified near Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences in Naharlagun (which has been made a ‘Covid-19 hospital’).
“The accommodation will be finalized tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.
A private practitioner said he has come across four cases of nurses being harassed verbally. “None of them wants to tell the names of the landlords in fear of being summarily thrown out,” the doctor said.
All the harassed health personnel this daily spoke to refused to share any information about their landlords.
“Right now the priority is our patients, not the owners of the buildings. We will deal with that,” one said.
IMA-AP president, Dr Lobsang Tsetim, said the medical professionals are under tremendous stress.
“Most of the doctors and nurses are away from their families, and on top of that many are facing stigma because we are doing our job,” he lamented, adding that “every day is a new challenge for them.”
In RK Mission Hospital, most of the doctors have shifted to the hospital’s premises since the statewide lockdown started on 23 March.
Many doctors were forced to shift because movement has been restricted within the colonies they stay in, because of the barricades put up by the residents.
A plan is underway to shift the nurses to the nursing hostel soon.
33 tested so far, no positive cases
Arunachal has not reported any Covid-19 positive cases. Thirty-three swab samples from the state have been tested so far. Twenty-three have returned negative results while 10 results are awaited, according to the bulletin issued by the health department’s surveillance cell.
The highest number of 10 swabs was collected on Monday. Seventeen people are staying in quarantine facilities, while 85 have completed the 14-day quarantine period.
In the entire country, there are 1251 active cases of Covid-19. So far 99 have been discharged, while 32 have died, according to the union health ministry.
The Northeast has reported two cases: one each in Manipur and Mizoram.