Health apparatus appears to be under threat in Bihar with a large number of doctors and health professionals on the frontline of the battle against the deadly Covid-19 getting infected with Coronavirus.

According to a report of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Bihar unit, more than 250 doctors and health workers are currently infected with Coronavirus and have been admitted to various hospitals for treatment while it has also claimed lives of two doctors, including an eminent ENT specialist Dr NK Singh posted with the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) so far. This has caused a fairly new problem before the general Covid-19 patients who are either being denied entry to the hospitals or being told to stay in-home quarantine.

“More than 250 doctors and health professionals have been found positive for Covid-19 and the whole situation is worsening by the day,” IMA’s senior Vice-president Dr Ajay Kumar informed. “They (doctors and health workers) are getting infected as they have been in regular contacts with the Covid-19 patients coming to the hospitals,” Dr Kumar said. He also blamed the supply of sub-standard PPE kits and gloves behind the spread of the virus among the doctor community.

IMA secretary Dr Sunil Kumar demanded mandatory Covid-19 tests for all doctors and health workers after a gap of 15 days and also 15-day rest for health professionals given duty in the Corona ward. “Chances of doctors contracting the virus is very high after being in regular contact with the covid-19 patients. So, a break after 15-day-long duty will check the infection,” he said, demanding that 50 per cent beds in AIIMS, Patna be reserved for doctors.

The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the two top health officials, such as Director in Chief (Disease Control, Public Health and Paramedical) Dr Naveen Chandra Prasad and Patna-based Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) director Dr NR Biswas are currently infected with Covid-19. Of the two officials, Dr Biswas was shifted to the AIIMS on Sunday after his condition deteriorated.

Apart from them, more than 60 doctors, technicians, nurses, laboratory technicians and other health workers from PMCH alone are down with corona strikes. The chief matron of the PMCH too has been found infected. Health officials said the health system would be in total disarray if some urgent measures were not initiated to save the health professionals leading a battle against the Coronavirus.

Last fortnight, the laboratories of Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS), AIIMS, PMCH and IGIMS had to be shut for fumigation after doctors and technicians tested positive. Another prominent Patna hospital, Mahavir Cancer Institute, has shut its OPD and emergency ward for three days after some health workers were found positive during screening.

Bihar surveillance officer Dr Ragini Mishra said there is nothing to worry. “We have two sets of doctors’ teams—Frontline team and Second-line team. So, the moment the Frontline team is quarantined, the second will automatically take charge,” Dr Mishra said.

But what remains a matter of concern is that Covid-19 cases have registered a 41 per cent increase in the past 40 days. According to a report of the Bihar health department, the total number of Covid-19 cases which was recorded at only 485 on May 1 has now climbed to 20,173.

In the past 24 hours, the virus has infected 1,320 people, bringing the total number of infected persons to 16,305 on Sunday, while also claiming 157 lives so far.