MULTAN - At least 40 medical personnel have been put into isolation in Nishtar Hospital on fear of contracting Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) from a patient, who expired on Friday night, The Nation learnt on Saturday.

Hospital sources disclosed that the isolated medics included 18 doctors, 20 nurses and two other medical staffers.

The patient namely Abdul Razzaq, who died in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), tested positive which sent shock waves to all the medical staff serving at those wards where he was treated before his death. Due to reasons like absence of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and low testing capacity, the level of contagion among the country’s medical personnel is on a rise and at least three doctors have so far died of COVID-19 infection while dozens others are in isolation in different areas of the country.

Government of Pakistan’s COVID-19 portal says that the country has as so far recorded 4,970 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 50 of them in critical condition. A total of 77 patients have so far died of this infection while 762 recovered. The Young Doctors Association (YDA) alleged that the negligent behaviour of the hospital administration exposed the doctors and nurses to COVID-19 infection.

Talking to this scribe, Dr Faran Aslam, president of YDA Multan, said that the patient had symptoms of coronavirus infection and the doctors repeatedly requested hospital administration for his COVID-19 test. “But they did not listen to any of us. His blood sample was sent for the test when he was about to expire.

He has tested positive and now all doctors and nurses who attended him in different wards are under threat,” he further explained.

He said that the hospital administration had not supplied PPEs to doctors so far. “Keeping in view the situation of COVID-19 outbreak, the medics working in all departments need PPEs.

We don’t know who is coming with infection. The most vulnerable are the medics in this situation but they are denied necessary equipment,” he maintained.

He claimed that the doctors and nurses in isolation ward were also working without PPEs and they wore ordinary surgical masks and simple gloves.

He said that the gravity of the situation could be gauged from the fact that the Nishtar Hospital Administration had issued notification for the vacation of Rafida Hall hostel.

“The doctors and nurses living in this hostel had been asked to vacate it immediately as it will be converted into an isolation area. It indicates the surge in suspected cases,” he added.

The Medical Superintendent of Nishtar Hospital Dr Shahid Bokhari was contacted by phone to seek his version but he did not pick the call. He was also sent SMS but he did not respond either.