-(PTI Photo)

Kochi: The outbreak of Covid-19 in Kerala has made one of the healthcare sector’s biggest nightmares come true: Doctors and other medical staff themselves getting infected.

As many as 30 doctors of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute in Thiruvananthapuram, one of the state’s premier health facilities, have been put under surveillance at their homes after one of their colleagues returning from Spain tested positive for the new virus.

The development has evoked memories of a nurse named Lini, who made the supreme sacrifice of paying with her life while treating the Nipah virus two years ago. The Nipah outbreak was more deadly than the current one as it claimed 17 lives before it was brought under control.

The Radiology lab of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute, where the doctor who tested positive for Covid-19 is based, has been shut. The absence of 30 doctors has virtually thrown the hospital services out of gear.

A similar situation has developed in the Medical College Hospital nearby, where doctors who treated a corona patient in the casualty and surgery departments, have been asked to go on compulsory leave.

The Medical College Hospital had treated a road accident victim, who happened to show symptoms of coronavirus when he returned from a foreign trip, but the Medical College Hospital doctors had no clue of his affliction. On his arrival from abroad earlier, he had been ordered to follow surveillance at home.

But the man ignored the protocol and ventured out, leading to the road accident, which brought him to the Medical College last Saturday. Since he had multiple problems, he had to be referred to orthopaedics as well as surgery departments where a number of doctors were involved with his treatment.

But on Monday it was discovered that the man had been under surveillance for suspected coronavirus attack and he was promptly moved to the hospital’s isolation ward. A number of PG doctors, house surgeons and other medical staff who came into contact with this patient have been asked to go on leave. The absence is said to be causing disruption to the hospital services.

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