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Rashtrapati Bhavan on high alert after staff’s family member tests positive for Covid-19

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File photo of Rashtrapati Bhavan | Commons
File photo of Rashtrapati Bhavan | Commons


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New Delhi: The Rashtrapati Bhavan, housing the office and residence of President Ram Nath Kovind, is on high alert after a resident on the sprawling 360-acre premises tested positive for Covid-19 Sunday.

The resident is the daughter-in-law of a sanitation worker employed in the premises, who lives with her family in the staff quarters in Rashtrapati Bhavan Annexe. The woman got infected from her mother who had tested positive for Covid-19 and died last week at a city hospital, said a source in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The remaining family members of the woman, including her mother-in-law who is the sanitation worker, have tested negative. However, they have been quarantined in a government facility, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson.

The worker’s house has been disinfected and sealed while 125 families living in the area have been directed to self isolate, added the spokesperson.

The family lived quite far off from where Kovind lives in the Presidential Estate.

“All necessary precautions have been taken at Rashtrapati Bhavan, which has been on high alert since the last month-and-a-half when the outbreak hit India. No visitors are allowed inside and the entire premises is disinfected a number of times throughout the day. We are maintaining very stringent hygiene standards,” added the spokesperson.


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How the woman got infected

Sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan said the authorities found that the woman got infected from her mother who had tested positive for the virus and died last week. The mother did not stay in the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises.

“The daughter used to visit her mother in the hospital. When she died, her daughter along with her mother-in-law, who is the sanitation worker, went for the funeral. It was only after some neighbours informed the President’s Secretariat that authorities swung into action,” said a source.

Estate officials informed the health officials who evacuated the family and took them to a quarantine facility.

“The entire family of the sanitation worker was tested. Except for the daughter-in-law, all others tested negative. The family’s primary contacts living near their house have also been tested. Their report is awaited,” the source added.

There was a scare in the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 20 March following reports of Rajasthan’s Jhalawar-Baran MP Dushyant Singh’s meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind and 100-odd parliamentarians on 18 March for a breakfast event.

The meeting had come two days after Singh attended a party in Lucknow where Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor was also present. She tested positive for Covid-19 after the party. Singh, who later went into self quarantine, tested negative.


Also read: From unpaid domestic care work to menstrual hygiene – Covid’s double whammy for Indian women


 

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India

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

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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.”


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‘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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