As many as 34 healthcare professionals, including 20 nurses and 11 doctors, have tested positive for COVID-19 in Delhi so far. On Monday alone, nine nurses working at the Delhi State Cancer Institute tested positive for the disease and were admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital and Lok Nayak Hospital. Most of the nurses who have tested positive at the hospital so far are from Kerala.
In the letter Vijayan wrote: “I would like to draw your kind attention to the situation which has been reported to us regarding the plight of the nurses in Delhi. They are requesting that necessary steps should be taken to provide PPE and to provide separate and secure accommodation to employees who are diagnosed positive for coronavirus and those who presently have no symptoms. It is stated by them that the family members are also quarantined in Covid hospitals. I request that immediate action may be taken to alleviate the concerns of the nurses from Kerala working in your state.”
Referring to the video conference Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with state chief ministers, Vijayan wrote in the letter: “… we are now hearing the news that some nurses are tested as positive for coronavirus in Delhi. We are receiving frantic telephone calls from them and their family members. Many of them are informing us that there is lack of adequate precaution to prevent the contagion of the disease. It is understood that nurses tested positive for COVID-19 and others are accommodated in the same place. I need not remind you that the vast majority of the nursing community serving within Indian and abroad belong to Kerala. The services rendered by them have been lauded by one and all. In this hour of crisis, nation needs to stand with them and give them the confidence which they have been giving all along to others.”
Staff from different government hospitals have earlier written to their administrations as well as penned open letters asking that they be given adequate protection gear such as PPE kits to make sure they are protected from infection while they attend to patients. Nurses have also alleged that in many cases they were not given PPE kits till as late as a week ago.
Kejriwal also said in a press conference recently that the city was in need of PPE kits. The centre allocated 27,000 of these to Delhi on Monday.
Vijayan has also written a similar letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Delhi government officials could not be reached for comment.