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Covid-19: Delhi Govt Classifies Accommodation for Healthcare Workers, Sparks Outrage

According to reports, 15 nurses and lab technicians who were in their quarantine period were asked to vacate their rooms by a leading five-star hotel as the facility was meant for “doctors only”.
Delhi Govt

In a controversial development, Delhi government on Monday passed an order stratifying the accommodation facilities among the healthcare workers. As per the order, the doctors will be provided accommodation in 4/5 star hotels, nurses and paramedic staff are to be lodged in hotels and other support staff including sanitation workers at Dharamshalas. The order accessed by NewsClick read, “In Suppression of order no...regarding the eligibility of hotel accommodation for doctors, nurses, paramedics and supporting staff of dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, Covid Health Centres, Covid Care Centres/quarantine centres and Covid Test Centers as per the following...This issues with the approval of Hon’ble Health Minister.”

After the outbreak of the pandemic, Delhi government, in one of its key decisions, had maintained that Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital will be entirely dedicated to the patients infected with COVID-19. Similarly, it had announced that the doctors, paramedical staff and other staff will be accommodated in five star hotels. But it revised its orders on Monday. The need for an alternative arrangement for the healthcare workers arose in the first place after they raised their concerns about carrying infection back to their homes. The doctors, paramedical staff and other supporting staff are to follow a cycle of 14-day duty period followed by 14-day quarantine period.

According to reports, 15 nurses and lab technicians who were in their quarantine period were asked to vacate their rooms by a leading five-star hotel as the facility was meant for “doctors only”.


Commenting on the order, Thankamma Joy, President, Delhi Staff Hospital’s Nurses Union, told NewsClick that the order is discriminatory and must be revoked immediately. “The government is looking at its staff through a prism of discrimination. We are working without food for 12 hours consistently. Just imagine, can you work without food? Aren't we humans? The government is completely missing from the ground. CM Arvind Kejriwal should come and see our working conditions,” she said.

“After protests, some were told that they will be accommodated at Gujarati Samaj and some other hotels in Karol Bagh, but nobody came to see how we are doing. At least, they should have appointed a supervisor to look after us. Apart from this, the Delhi government is giving us a 14-day quarantine; whereas, the Kerala government gave 28 days for quarantine and took care of their needs. This is very disappointing. They have abandoned us in this hour of crisis,” added Joy.

Leading activist Ashok Agarwal said the order promotes discrimination and ridicules healthcare workers despite their contribution. He said, “The governments have been asking people to clap and bang thalis to honour the services of the healthcare workers, but it has rewarded them with this order. Thousands of police personnel, civil defence volunteers, sanitation workers, education department workers who are distributing food are risking their own lives to defeat this invisible virus. I think the order is discriminatory and it must be withdrawn.”

Talking to NewsClick, Bezwada Wilson, national convenor, Safai Karamchari Andolan, said that the order was akin to promoting casteism. He said, “How can a government do so? Is it saying that some people’s jobs are more important than others’? It needs to understand that every person in these disturbing times has their specific role and they are contributing in their own way to control the pandemic.”

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain could not be reached despite repeated attempts for his comments.

Also read: COVID-19: A Reality Check of Delhi Hospitals' Preparedness

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