A woman doctor from Bhuj in Kutch, working in Mumbai, has been booked after she tested positive for COVID-19 and returned home allegedly without due permission. Five days later after she left Mumbai, she tested negative for the virus but the authorities in Bhuj said she would continue to be in hospital for eight more days.
Based on a tip-off from health officials, a police constable filed a complaint against the 22-year-old doctor, with ‘B’ Division police station of Bhuj town, on the basis of which she was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code on Friday night.
The FIR notes that the doctor, practising in Mumbai, was tested on May 3 and her report came positive for COVID-19 on May 4. “She left Mumbai the same day and arrived at her home in Bhuj town on May 5 without taking due permission from the authorities. Therefore, we have booked her,” said Saurabh Tolumbia, superintendent of police of Kutch (west).
Kutch Collector Praveena DK said the matter came to light only after a team of health department went to the doctor’s residence in Vijay Nagar on Friday. “Our health teams are doing random sampling of those who returned home from other states. She told the health officials that she she was doing her internship in JJ Hospital in Mumbai which was closed due to coronavirus infection and that she also had tested positive. Therefore, we ordered an FIR against her. The doctor came to Bhuj on May 5 but neither she nor any of her family members reported it to the authorities that she had tested positive in Mumbai,” said the collector.
The collector said that the young doctor was in home quarantine but as a precautionary measure, her 14 close contacts, including her family members, have been shifted to an institutional quarantine, while 80 people in her neighbourhood have been directed to remain in isolation at their homes.
The doctor was admitted to the isolation ward of GK General Hospital in Bhuj the same day. The following day, she tested negative. “This test should not have been done as, according to latest ICMR guideline, no test is required if a doctor finds a patient clinically fit. Such assessment has to be done only after keeping patient under observation for 10 days. Therefore, she will remain in hospital for the next eight days,” the collector added.
The collector said that the doctor didn’t have permit from Maharashtra authorities to travel to Gujarat even though Gujarat government had issued her permission to enter Gujarat.
Kutch district has been classified as an orange zone by the Central government. Till Sunday, the district reported eight confirmed cases of the viral disease. Three of them had history of travelling to Maharashtra. Before the woman doctor, a crew-member who came from Mumbai to Mundra port to board a ship tested positive. On Sunday, a businessman from Anjar taluka of Kutch who recently travelled to Mumbai also tested positive. “Around 7,000 people have returned to Kutch from Maharashtra so far. Our health teams are tracking them closely once they enter Kutch and testing them randomly,” the collector added.
Dr Nagajan Bhadarka, chief medical superintendent of GK General Hospital, could not be reached for a comment. Kutch district development officer Prabhav Joshi said, “Her reported testing was done in Maharashtra and not Gujarat. So it is possible that the testing in Bhuj was done for confirmation.”