Hyderabad: A couple of days ago, when a man, who was having coronavirus symptoms and was waiting in the queue to get tested on the eighth floor of the Gandhi hospital, craved for a hot cup of tea, he walked out of the ward escaping the attention of the hospital staff and headed straight to the canteen, meant for doctors only.
Once inside, he asked for a few cups of tea to be poured in the flask he was carrying with him and placed it on the table. When the canteen staff enquired who he was, he told them that he was among the many who was waiting for his turn to get a swab test conducted for coronavirus confirmation. ''Time pass nai hora toh chai lene ku aya.....'' (just came for tea as there is no other time pass) he casually told them leaving the staff bewildered!
Over the past one week, several patients, mostly those who were arriving for tests, have been playing ''hide and seek'' with the hospital staff and heading to the canteen for a cup of tea or a snack, making the canteen frequented by doctors, a possible hotspot for the killer virus.
This has ended up in the canteen now being shut and doctors now go all the way to another canteen located in the Out-patient block, where security has been tightened and no one except doctors are allowed entry.
Sources at Gandhi hospital told Deccan Chronicle that despite strict instructions that patients should not go anywhere while awaiting their turn, many of them were getting restless and coming out frequently, looking for tea and snacks, some of them even without putting on their masks.
''For all those who have been allotted rooms, the hospital provides food. But when it comes to testing, the massive rush is resulting in longer waiting hours which is making them restless. We are providing them with water bottles during the waiting time but since they have to wait for half a day or even more to get tested, they are getting impatient. It had become a major problem as they were escaping the attention of the guards and going down to the fourth floor for tea and snacks,'' sources said.
Once they are not found seated on their chairs, an alarm is raised and a man hunt starts.
More than the doctors, the other medical staff assisting them were hit as the canteen in the IP building (which is closed now), though meant for doctors only, used to give parcels to the staff, be it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That has stopped now and they are not allowed entry in the canteen in the OP block.
In fact, getting a cup of tea has become a huge problem in the hospital premises. A bakery outside the hospital used to provide tea but has now shut down. The hospital staff is also not allowing attenders of patients to get home made food or tea due to the risk of the deadly virus.
''The canteen in the IP block was convenient for all of us as we could go there anytime while working in the same block,'' said a staffer.
Gandhi hospital infrastructure getting stretched:
Meanwhile, with the increasing cases of coronavirus, the sixth floor of the main building (which was the post-operative ward and burns ward) too has been converted into an isolation ward.
The seventh floor is meant for all the positive cases while the eighth floor has testing and isolation wards.
Sources said that next, the fifth floor which is the Urology and Gastroenterology ward will also be utilised as an isolation ward.
Today, besides the main help desk, another help desk is being set up in view of the increasing rush....