Alleging lack of adequate personal protective equipment, ambulance workers in Himachal Pradesh have threatened to go on a strike if their demands for safety measures are not met within a week.
According to Himachal Pradesh 108/102 Contract Workers’ Union president Puran Chand, most ambulance pilots (drivers) and emergency medical technicians (EMT) have not been provided N95 masks, personal protection kits or adequate amount of sanitisers.
“Most of us have been given nothing but some disposable masks and gloves. Even for vehicles, which are not currently dedicated for COVID-19, PPEs are must because we have to deal with potential cases who may test positive later,” he said.
In a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and the department of health and family welfare, the union has threatened to go on a pen-down strike from April 13 and a total strike from April 18 if sufficient safety kits are not provided to all the workers.
Chand said that there are around 1,000 ambulance workers in the state and 47 vehicles are currently being used to tackle COVID-19.
In countries, which have been affected most by the pandemic including China and Italy, frontline health workers have been among the most vulnerable to the virus, constituting a significant proportion of all positive cases.
4 more test positive
Four more people tested positive for the virus on Friday and Saturday, taking the total number of recorded cases in the state to 33.
The four new patients include two staff members of a private hospital in Baddi where a COVID-19 positive woman was initially taken before being referred to PGI, Chandigarh. She later died at PGI. The other two patients are the contacts of Tablighi Jamaat members who visited Nizamuddin last month.
Out of a total 33 confirmed cases, two people have died, six recovered and four have left the state. Thus, currently there are 21 active cases in the state.
Health officials said that all patients in the state suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) will now be tested for COVID-19. People suffering from diabetes, asthma and cancer who have COVID-19 symptoms will also be tested and additional vehicles are being deputed to collect samples from symptomatic patients.
Officials said that teams of accredited social health activists (ASHA) went door-to-door to orally record health and travel information of each resident. Around 65 lakh people have already been covered under the exercise, additional chief secretary (health) RD Dhiman said.
Deaths – 2
Cases – 33
Recovered – 6
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines