Two days after banning the use of cellphones by Covid-19 patients in the isolation wards of the hospitals, the UP government on Sunday made “partial” amendment in the directive and allowed patients to use their personal mobile phones with some “predefined restrictions”.
Stating that restrictions were to effectively stop infection among patients and medical staff, the new guidelines issued by Director General (DG) Medical Education said the patients will have to disclose having a mobile phone and charger before going to the isolation wards; and the patient will have to first get the charger and mobile phone disinfected by the hospital management.
“The mobile phone will not be given to any health worker or attendant or shared with anyone. Since we are worried about the patient, hence the Medical Education Department has issued orders that all the belongings of the patient will be disinfected… When the patient is discharged, they will get their phones and chargers disinfected,” Additional Chief Secretary (Home ) Awanish Kumar Awasthi.
The revision of the order comes after widescale criticisms against the government’s move to ban patients from carrying phones in the isolation wards. The ban was ordered for isolation wards in L2 and L3 Covid Hospitals in the state.
Many had said that banning of cellphones would affect the mental health of patients who would already be in confinement.
The decision had also taken a political turn with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav calling the ban as the government’s attempt to hide the “poor condition” of the facilities.
In a tweet, the former chief minister said: “If the infection spreads through mobile phones, then they should be banned across the country. Mobile phones provide mental support and help cope with loneliness.”
The SP leader said the ban had been imposed so that the truth about the poor condition of hospitals does reach the public. “The need is to sanitise mobile phones and not impose a ban on them,” he added.
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