U.P. backs down on order banning mobiles in COVID wards

Govt. wants to hide condition of hospitals, says Akhilesh

Published - May 24, 2020 05:02 pm IST - LUCKNOW

File photo: An isolation ward at Railway Hospital, in Prayagraj (Allahabad), on March 14, 2020.

File photo: An isolation ward at Railway Hospital, in Prayagraj (Allahabad), on March 14, 2020.

After a Twitter spat, the Uttar Pradesh government has amended its May 22 order prohibiting the use of mobile phones by patients in isolation wards of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals in the State.

In his order, U.P.’s Director General of the Medical Education Department K.K. Gupta had said the use of mobile phones spreads COVID-19 infection.

Two dedicated mobile phones would be kept with the ward in-charge of the COVID Care Centre to allow patients to communicate with their families and the administration if required, Mr. Gupta added in his order addressed to various medical colleges.

The ban was questioned by Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, who accused the government of trying to hide the poor state of hospitals and their “mismanagement” by mobile phones.

Taking to Twitter, Mr. Yadav stressed that mobile phones provided “mental support” to patients. If mobile phones caused transmission of COVID-19, then they should be banned across the country, he said.

The Samajwadi Party leader pointed out that there was a need for sanitization and not banning of mobile phones.

Following the outcry, Mr. Gupta said on Sunday that patients would be allowed to use their mobiles phones in isolation wards but with conditions. Before entering the isolation ward, the patient would have to disclose that he or she has a phone and charger, and the devices would have to be disinfected. The same process would be followed on discharge.

The patients would not be allowed to share their mobile phones with other patients or health staff.

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