The quarantine facility at hotels, provided to all health workers of Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) while on COVID-19 duty for the past nine months, was discontinued from Sunday. This decision has evoked criticism from a section of health workers.
Since April, all health workers of GRH – including doctors, nurses and sanitary workers – were accommodated at various hotels across the city during their quarantine leave. However, the decision to discontinue the facility was taken due to shortage of funds with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, say senior health department officials.
“Madurai was the first district in the State where hotel quarantine facilities for health workers was introduced. But the quarantine facilities for health workers were cancelled in other districts from last month. Since the number of positive cases are low, it was decided to discontinue the hotel quarantine facility in Madurai too,” said an official.
Members of Tamil Nadu Medical Department All Employees, Sanitary Workers and Nursing Assistants Association petitioned the Collector on Saturday urging that hotel quarantine facility be continued. Association president M. Venkatachalam said most health workers in the lower cadre were worried about the safety of their family members as they have to go home after completing their COVID-19 duty. “All these months we have been told that it was important to stay isolated after completing the COVID-19 duty. So, this decision to discontinue hotel quarantine facility has made the health workers anxious,” he said.
Dean J. Sangumani said all COVID-19 protocols were followed for health workers after they complete their COVID-19 duty. The number of COVID-19 positive patients being treated at the hospital has also come down, he added.