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Shillong doctor with no travel history dies, pilot son-in-law clarifies he tested negative

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Dr John L. Sailo Ryntathiang, who died of Covid-19 Wednesday, was the owner of Shillong's Bethany Hospital | Photo: Bethany Hospital | Facebook
Dr John L. Sailo Ryntathiang, who died of Covid-19 Wednesday, was the owner of Shillong’s Bethany Hospital | Photo: Bethany Hospital | Facebook


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New Delhi: Sixty-nine-year-old doctor John L. Sailo Ryntathiang died in Shillong due to Covid-19 in the early hours of Wednesday, the first death in the state of Meghalaya. Six of his family members have also tested positive for the coronavirus.

Dr Sailo, who completed his MBBS from AMC Dibrugarh and his MD in medicine from AIIMS, New Delhi, was well-known in Shillong as the owner of the Bethany Hospital. He had tested positive for Covid-19 in Shillong Monday.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma took to Twitter to express his condolences to the bereaved family.


Also read: ‘Corona helmets’, dressing as Yamraj & singing: How police is spreading Covid-19 message


‘No travel history’

Dr Sailo had no history of foreign travel when he contracted the deadly virus, a health official who didn’t wish to be named told ThePrint. The official said he may have contracted the virus from a “silent carrier”.

“Only his son-in-law, Arthur Wungthingthing, who is an Air India pilot, had a travel history to some of the affected countries, but he didn’t have any symptoms of contamination from the virus,” the official said.

CM Sangma has, however, stated there isn’t fool-proof evidence that the doctor contracted the disease from his son-in-law, and that the investigation into the matter is still going on.

Wungthingthing had travelled from New York to Delhi on 16 March, after which he travelled from Delhi to Imphal and then went back to Delhi on 20 March, according to a letter issued by the commissioner and secretary of Meghalaya Health Department to the secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Wungthingthing was placed under home quarantine from 24 March to 7 April.

Wungthingthing also issued a statement about linking his travel history with his father-in-law’s death, clarifying that he tested negative twice, and is now waiting to get his third sample tested. The Air India pilot, however, said that even after six family members tested positive, there had been no efforts to quarantine them, and that they were all living together under the same roof.


Also read: Bihar turns clock back for Covid-19 fight, seeks to replicate 1998 polio eradication drive


2,000 contacts identified

Nearly 2,000 people who were in contact with the doctor have been identified.

As soon as the doctor tested positive Monday, Bethany Hospital was sealed and the people admitted there were put in quarantine with immediate effect. The adjoining areas around the hospital in Shillong and Nongpoh were also sealed.

Before the doctor was diagnosed, Meghalaya had registered no Covid-19 cases, so the state government had partially relaxed the lockdown. But beginning Tuesday, it has imposed a 48-hour curfew in both Shillong and Nongpoh.

CM Sangma has requested citizens through a tweet to identify themselves if they had visited Bethany Hospital on or after 22 March by calling on helpline number 108. Sangma also announced that a total of 90 samples were sent for testing after Dr Sailo tested positive, and that a list of his primary and secondary contacts is being compiled. Fifty samples from his primary contact list have tested negative in Guwahati Medical College and Hospital.


Also read: Covid-19 with diabetes is more deadly. Here’s why you must control it during lockdown and how


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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