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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Coronavirus: Punjab Police step in after suspected patient refuses to stay in isolation ward

The Kotakpura resident had come from Canada via China and had spent nine hours at the Shanghai airport before returning to India. Though he went through relevant checks at the Delhi airport, district authorities said he had called on the helpline number on Monday and said he was feeling feverish and had a cough.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Published: February 5, 2020 8:40:17 am
Isolation ward set up at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College Hospital in Faridkot. Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh

District authorities in Punjab’s Faridkot had to seek the help of local police to make a 38-year-old man with coronavirus-like symptoms get admitted in the isolation ward of a government hospital, officials said Tuesday. The Kotakpura resident had come from Canada via China and had spent nine hours at the Shanghai airport before returning to India. Though he went through relevant checks at the Delhi airport, district authorities said he had called on the helpline number on Monday and said he was feeling feverish and had a cough.

Thereafter, he was advised to get himself admitted to the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital in Faridkot as per guidelines issued by the Union government. However, he refused to stay in the isolation ward, prompting Faridkot District Commissioner Kumar Saurabh to write to the superintendent of police.

“The patient informed the civil surgeon about respiratory symptoms after returning from Canada via China (halt at Shanghai for 9 hours). Civil surgeon has taken his sample but the patient is adamant not to stay in isolation room at hospital. Please issue directions to police officers to assist medical officers of health department to keep the patient under isolation. In case there is any resistance, the person shall be arrested immediately and kept in isolation guarded by police. Treat it most urgent,” the DC wrote Monday.

Next day, the patient was taken to the medical college under police presence. Police personnel were also been deployed outside the isolation ward. Dr Rajiv Joshi, the hospital’s medical superintendent, said, “The patient is now admitted in our hospital and will stay till the time the report does not come negative. Blood sample has been taken and sent to a Pune lab. The report will come in 72 hours. He has a cough, but he is stable. Since he had a 9-hour stay in China, we cannot take any chances.”

The Faridkot DC said, “People should follow the advisory issued by the Government of India and anyone who has come from China must inform the health authorities and should get himself/herself examined.”

The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus that has killed people in China is a novel strain and not seen before.

The virus — which first emerged in Wuhan city in China’s central Hubei province — has spread to 25 countries, including India (three confirmed cases have been reported from Kerala), the US and the UK.

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