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BMC Asks Resident Doctors To Quarantine for 1 Day Even as Cases Increase

Resident doctors from BMC’s hospitals have issued a sharp criticism of the policy.

BMC Asks Resident Doctors To Quarantine for 1 Day Even as Cases Increase
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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has previously made multiple changes to the quarantine norms for doctors working in civic hospitals. Its latest circular, issued on September 7, asked doctors performing their duties in Cornavirus wards to take only one day off and resume working in the hospital.

Following this, resident doctors from BMC’s hospitals have issued a sharp criticism of the policy. They said that the one-day quarantine period is too short and that it could put patients or other people who interact with them at a greater risk of catching the virus. 

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It’s worth pointing out that the BMC had asked doctors to resume their duties at non-COVID wards, which mostly consists of patients who are admitted for other ailments. In institutions like BYL Nair Hospital, doctors are permitted to work for up to seven days at a stretch and then take a day off whereas hospitals like KEM and Sion are asking doctors to work for 10 days before taking a day off.

Back in March this year, the BMC asked its doctors to work for seven days and take seven days off for quarantine. However, this was subsequently changed to five working days and two off days by June and nine work days and six off days in the same month. Shortly after, the quarantine was cut to 3 days as working days were increased to 10 days.

As for the risks that doctors face, data shows that not less than 147 resident doctors from KEM have tested positive for COVID-19, while the tally stands at 124 in Sion Hospital and 110 in Nair Hospital. 

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“When we switch from Covid duty to non-Covid duty after just a day off, we also put general patients at risk,” a resident doctor from KEM Hospital said.  

The circumstances appear to be even worse for nurses working in these hospitals. A nurse from Nair hospital said that they are asked to work for up to 15 days at a time before a leave is allowed.

  The BMC, meanwhile, has justified the change in policies for civic doctors. Additional Municipal Commissioner of the BMC, Suresh Kakani said - “Earlier we did not know much about the infection so we allowed seven-day work and seven-day quarantine. Now that we know how to protect against it, we have reduced the quarantine period.” 

The data provided by the resident doctors at KEM tells a different story, though. They noted that the maximum number of infections among doctors were recorded in September when their quarantine period was cut down to 1 day in most cases.

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