After the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) of a society in Ghaziabad threatened to stop doctors and paramedical staff working in Delhi from entering their residences in the society, the district administration has clarified that the RWA has no power to issue an order in this regard.
On Thursday, the society’s RWA had issued a notice referring to the guidelines issued by the Ghaziabad Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Chander, which said that doctors and paramedical staff working in Delhi are advised to find a temporary residence in Delhi during the period of lockdown. The society’s notice said as a coronavirus infected person had been found in the society, doctors and paramedical staff working in Delhi would not be allowed to enter from May 10 onwards.
When Indian Medical Asociation (IMA) intervened, Ghaziabad Chief Medical Officer N.K. Gupta issued a clarification saying the district administration only issued an advisory that it was advisable if the frontline health workers working in Delhi, a red zone, could find accommodation in Delhi during the period of lockdown as a safety measure for their family and neighbours.
Before the third lockdown, Ghaziabad was declared an orange zone, but during the last week, the district has shown a spike in cases. The city district has reported 120 cases of COVID-19. Last week, the figure stood at 66.
V.B. Jindal, district president, IMA, told The Hindu that the association took a strong objection to the order/ advisory as it generates stigma against healthcare workers. “We told the RWA of the said society that if they are so scared of doctors and paramedical staff, they should stop taking their services.”
Dr. Jindal said the district magistrate had told them that the adivsory was meant only for those doctors and paramedical staff who are on COVID-19 duty. “He admitted that it was poorly worded and created confusion that it was meant for all the doctors. We agree that the doctors and staff on COVID duty are expected to go into active and passive quarantine before returning to duty. We have asked the administration and the Delhi government to make proper arrangements for the quarantine of the health care workers from Ghaziabad working in Delhi,” he said.
Col. (Retd.) Tejendra Pal Tyagi, Chairman of the Federation of RWAs in Ghaziabad, agreed that the RWA had no right to issue such a notice to doctors. “My advice is that the doctors and paramedical staff, both to COVID as well as non-COVID duty should have been politely appealed to stay in Delhi during the period of lockdown. It is in the interest of their families as well. I would say even bank employees from Ghaziabad who are working in Delhi should stay back,” he said, adding Ghaziabad may be an orange zone but is surrounded by Delhi, Meerut, and Gautam Buddh Nagar, which are red zones. “And the number of cases is increasing in Ghaziabad,” he added.
Mr. Tyagi applauded the Haryana government for sealing the borders of Gurugram for healthcare workers. “When you have been declared a warrior, you are not expected to ask for any favours till the battle is over. After all, all the three armed forces have showered flowers on you,” he reminded.
Having said that, he added the Ghaziabad district administration and the Delhi government should ensure that proper arrangements are made for the doctors and the paramedical staff in Delhi during the period of lockdown. “If they are not in a position, the RWAs should come forward to pay for their stay in a hotel,” said Mr. Tyagi.