Resident doctors of civic-run hospitals and medical colleges staged a silent protest by wearing black ribbons on their arms against the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) decision to slash their quarantine period after COVID-19 duty from one week to a day. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) said that they will not take a strike off work but will mark their protest by wearing the ribbon.
“More than 70 per cent of residents who have been affected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus are either symptomatic or positive after returning from their COVID-19 duties. Now, there are suspected cases of re-infection too. Hence, quarantine becomes very essential," said Dr Deepak Mundhe, President, KEM MARD.
Civic officials said due to an increase in non-COVID-19 patients, they can no longer allow doctors to quarantine for a week. Sion Hospital resident doctors said if the hospital's load has increased, why were they made to work in SevenHills Hospital or the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) jumbo facilities.
“Earlier, it was started with seven days of work and seven days of quarantine, which was further changed to nine and five days, respectively. Now, it has been reduced to one day, which means that the civic body does not care at all about our mental or physical health. They only want us to work non-stop,” said one of the resident doctors.
Another doctor said the number of COVID-19 Care Centres were increased and the resources were low. “The authorities want to manage with no shortfall in manpower. But if HCWs test positive, they will have to go on leave for 28 days,” he said.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in its advisory dated June 18, said that for HCWs with high risk of exposure, the quarantine period should initially be for a week. A decision can be taken by the nodal officer/head of department on extending it for a further period of one week after looking at their profile.