Despite active cases declining in many states, the National Capital Region is now witnessing the third phase of rise in Covid-19 cases. In the past week, daily detections have once again been over 3,000, and rising. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, 56, who tested positive for Covid-19 in June, admits the situation is a challenge, and says he has been hitting the ground daily to check the spread of the virus.
What precautions are you taking?
I have been directly working with doctors, medical staff, and authorities dealing with Covid-19 on the ground. So, I always wear a mask and carry a hand sanitiser while stepping out for work. Initially, there was a lot of scare about the disease among healthcare workers. I had to visit hospitals on a regular basis to boost their morale.
Have you got tested for Covid-19?
Many times. Before I tested positive for Covid-19, I took the test twice. Both times it was negative… On the day I was admitted to the hospital, I had severe headache. I checked my oxygen level… It was 90, and left me alarmed. When I called up the doctors, they told me to reach the hospital immediately. Once I was at the hospital, I didn’t feel scared. I never lost my will power and continued with a positive mind frame.
Did you have to isolate yourself?
I was in isolation for a week. Cases in Delhi were then (in June) on the rise, and so I was actively involved in work. I would have virtual meetings with my team on a daily basis. After getting discharged from hospital, I have been doing yoga regularly. It helped me overcome the breathing issues that I had even after testing negative.
What kind of gloves, mask do you use?
I have been using cloth masks since the very beginning. These masks are washable… Wearing mask has become part of our lives. I wear it in all meetings and visits to hospitals.
At work, what precautions do you take?
Carrying a hand sanitiser and wearing a mask is mandatory for anyone who visits my office. Being the state health minister, I cannot avoid meeting the general public and heads of medical institutions.
Have you had to stay away from family?
Yes. When I tested positive, I had to be hospitalised for 12 days and stayed away from my family for that period.
Do you take any specific precautions while you travel?
I have avoided travel since the pandemic broke out.
How much time do you spend in front of a screen?
I never spend much time on my phone anyway, and during the pandemic, I used it even less. For news too, I always read the newspaper.
How do you keep your mind off the pandemic?
At home, we don’t discuss the pandemic. Once I am out of office, I try to avoid having any conversation linked to Covid-19.
What is the first thing you want to do when the pandemic is past?
I would want to take a break for three- four days and go for a short trip with family.
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