Covid patients' primary contacts left in the lurch

Deccan Chronicle.  | Maddy Deekshith

Nation, Current Affairs

No home dropping facility; health and GHMC officials blame each other

The primary contacts after testing negative are left in the lurch by the nodal departments monitoring Covid-19. (PTI Photo)

Hyderabad: The primary contacts after testing negative are left in the lurch by the nodal departments monitoring Covid-19. Neither the health department nor the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have been providing a vehicle to drop them home after testing negative in the designated isolation wards.

A woman, who tested negative in a designated ward, walked about 20 kilometres to reach her home. Ironically, the patient lost her house key and nobody from the neighbourhood came to her rescue to break open the door at 9 pm.

Sharing her experience, Prasanna (name changed on request) said, "When my husband tested Covid-19 positive earlier this week he was shifted to Gandhi Hospital. Since I was his primary contact, medical teams rushed to my residence in LB Nagar zone and put me in the designated isolation ward. After testing negative, the hospital staff discharged me without providing any means of transport.”

I walked 20 km to reach my residence after failing to get a lift despite several attempts. They denied it because there was a 'home quarantine' seal stamped on my hand. Later, on reaching, I realised that I had misplaced the key and was desperate for help at around 9 pm. Though neighbours noticed my pain, none was ready to help. After using multiple instruments to break the key, I finally succeeded after a two-hour ordeal.”

She said that the health department had not provided any vehicle despite knowing that there is a ban on cabs, auto-rickshaws and public transport.

"For a moment, I thought I should have tested positive rather than undergoing untoward hardships", she added.

Similar has been the case with all primary and secondary contacts (since most of them are home quarantined). Neither the health department nor GHMC is taking the responsibility of transporting Covid-19 negative persons from isolation wards to residences. Both the nodal agencies have been passing the buck.

While the GHMC officials claimed that when primary contacts are transported in ambulances they have to drop them back in the same. Health department officials said that they are running short of ambulances and people could be shifted either in GHMC's disaster response force vehicles or by hiring RTC buses.

Trying to reach higher authorities of both the departments proved futile as none was ready to comment on the crucial issue.

It should be noted that similar negligence of those testing negative led to the death of two persons in the city. One case pertains to a 77-year old migrant worker and suspected Covid-19 patient, who was found dead on the roadside with his body unattended for over twelve hours on April 10.  The person, who went on foot, collapsed in  Narayanguda and lost his life due to departmental negligence.