Hyderabad: As many as 20 visually handicapped men living in a government hostel for the disabled in Hyderabad have contracted the coronavirus and have been admitted to the Covid-treatment facility at the Nature Cure Hospital (NCH).
Their symptoms are mild but taking care of them in NCH is a challenge as it has no support facilities for the visually handicapped. There are 50 visually handicapped persons lodged in the 180-bed hostel at Mehdipatnam. Many boarders left after the first coronavirus lockdown in March and have not returned. Of the boarders 15 who have tested positive, 14 say they were exposed to the hostel warden who had contracted Covid-19. Six others got the disease from the staff nurse.
R. Swamy Nayak, central executive council member of the All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) says, “The hostel warden, Rama Devi’s, husband had contracted Covid-19. The warden should have quarantined herself. She did not do that and due to that several hostel inmates have been infected. They are now at Nature Cure Hospital where the facilities are not very good. Who is responsible for their position? How will they be taken care of?”
They have been calling Nayak from the hospital and demanding that they be moved to a better facility. They are complaining that there is no one to take care of them.
Rama Devi, warden of the hostel says, “The 14 boarders developed fever, cough and cold in the last 10 days. I was quarantined and not available at work. Once I came back, they were immediately sent for testing and have been sent to the government isolation centre. They have been going out for their essential work and it would be wrong to blame me for infecting them.”
With the hostel having few inmates, there has been distancing but it has not been possible to keep all of them away due to their social needs to be together. The hostel premises have been sanitised and there is monitoring of the remaining inmates who have been asked to not go out at all and stay inside.