ONE of Uttar Pradesh’s worst hotspots, with 172 cases and five deaths, Agra, that has seen patients linked to foreign travel and the Tablighi Jamaat, is now grappling with another crisis. A private hospital in the district has been linked to around 50 positive cases, sending alarm bells ringing through 11 neighbouring districts.
So far, two patients who are believed to have acquired the infection at Shri Paras Hospital in Agra have died. The hospital, which is popular in the region and receives cases from rural areas around, was sealed on April 6.
On Thursday, an FIR was registered against the hospital manager and the main doctor, who remain missing, over charges of negligence under the IPC. Agra SSP Babloo Kumar said strict action would be taken against the hospital administration.
The hospital authorities could not be reached for a comment.
The Indian Express traced around 40 coronavirus cases or their contacts to the hospital from Agra, while at least a dozen belong to the surrounding districts of Kannauj, Mainpuri, Firozabad and Mathura. Apart from them, cases linked to Paras Hospital are suspected in Etawah and Hathras.
At present, Kannauj, Mathura and Mainpuri have four coronavirus cases each, while Firozabad has 27 cases.
Agra District Magistrate (DM) Prabhu Narain Singh said the first coronavirus case at Paras Hospital is suspected to have been a woman patient who got admitted on March 26 for some kidney-related issues. “The needed precautions were not taken by the hospital. Before we sealed it, a cleaning staff of the hospital who later tested positive had passed on the infection to eight members of her family. We have made a plan to identify all primary, secondary and tertiary contacts,” the DM said.
Singh said he had notified fellow DMs in 11 districts. “One patient came to Paras Hospital from Fatehpur Sikri, and through one of her contacts, the infection reached a hospital in Mathura as well as nine of her family members,” the DM said, elaborating on just one link in the chain.
Apart from technical surveillance, authorities are taking the help of police and health officials to trace possible cases.
Mainpuri DM Mahendra Bahadur Singh said, “A lot of private ambulance drivers here take patients to Paras Hospital, reportedly for a commission. As a result, cases are also suspected among ambulance drivers in our district. So far we have sent samples of close to 50 drivers.”