A 32-year-old from Delhi, who came to live with her brother at Chandigarh’s largest slum in early June hoping to seek better medical care in the city while giving birth to her child, says she had no option but to leave Delhi as her family faced hunger as well as hardship in getting treatment at overcrowded government hospitals in the national capital.
Recounting her ordeal, the 32-year-old, who gave birth at GMCH-32 on Thursday morning and tested positive for coronavirus on Friday evening, said: “I would stand in a queue in the sun all alone (in Delhi) without any family support for hours at end before getting checked. With every new visit to the hospital it became tougher to get treatment, so I requested my brother to let me in.”
As Delhi reels under rising Covid-19 cases, several of its residents it seems are ending up seeking medical treatment outside the national capital.
Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu Saturday said that “failing to get any treatment in Delhi, symptomatic persons are coming to Punjab to get themselves tested”.
In his statement, Sidhu added that 97 persons who came to Punjab from Delhi had tested positive in one month and that treatment services were being provided to them by the state government. However, it is yet to be ascertained how many of them were permanent residents of Delhi.
Sidhu alleged that people in the national capital were being denied testing and medical services. “It has come into light that due to the massive level of outbreak occurring in the national capital, people are battling for Covid-19 test as well as for getting beds in the government hospitals,” he claimed.
Taking a swipe at Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, he said: “Today, the Delhi government has given up. They used to say their Mohalla clinics and hospitals were very successful.”
Meanwhile, three residents of Delhi have been admitted at Rajindra Hospital in Patiala after they tested positive, while one positive patient from the national capital came to Mohali, Punjab government officials said Saturday. After approaching their relatives or friends in Patiala, the three patients reached the hospital for coronavirus testing and treatment, the officials said. A COVID-19 patient from Delhi came to Mohali on Friday night for treatment, officials said. “We have isolated him and will treat him,” said Mohali Civil Surgeon Manjit Singh.
In Chandigarh too, there have been other Covid-19 cases where people have come to stay with their relatives and tested positive. These include two men who came to stay with their families in Daria village and later tested positive, and another man who came to see his family in Sector 21, after which he was tested positive for Covid-19.
In case of the 32-year-old woman, her brother, a daily wager who resides with his six children and wife in Colony No. 4, one of the oldest and largest slum areas in Chandigarh, said he could not ignore his sister’s desperate call for help.
“Even though I am unemployed myself and had no means to support her, I couldn’t turn away from my sister’s plight. I told her to book a ticket and come… I knew the hospitals here would provide her treatment so I insisted that she comes,” said the 40-year-old man, who used to sell scrap from nearby industries to earn a living until the lockdown. His sister arrived in Chandigarh on June 4 on a train.
A resident of Wazirpur in north Delhi, a congested working class neighbourhood which also houses many industries, the 32-year-old said that her husband who worked as a helper at a jewelry store for Rs 10,000 per month has been unemployed since the lockdown. The couple, who were left without any income for three months, already had two children, and a third was born Thursday.
The whole family remains asymptomatic and is currently admitted to GMCH-32 where their samples have been taken for coronavirus testing. Further, more than 40 other contacts of the family from the slum were taken from the area and placed under institutional quarantine in order to control the spread of the pandemic in the colony.
In neighbouring Panchkula as well, many of the recent cases of Covid-19 are those who had a travel history to Delhi. One family of four who are residents of Delhi had come to visit their parents in Sector 72 of the city, after which they tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.
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