Hyderabad: Six Covid-19 patients from Gandhi hospital are on a hunger strike since Monday demanding a separate ward. The six asymptomatic patients claim they have been continuously kept with Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms. They are demanding a fresh ward for asymptomatic patients.

Among the six patients who are on strike, four have completed 40 days quarantine, and have no symptoms.

“I was admitted 40 days back and tested nine times positive. Since the day I was admitted several batches of patients came and got discharged. There are several symptomatic patients around me. Yesterday a new batch of 11 people came,” said one of the patients on strike.

“For the past 33 days, I have been using the same bed sheet. What is the point of washing your hand when you are using the same old bed sheet? Also, they are not giving us soap. Even for soap and toothpaste, we need to fight here,” he added.

The Covid-19 patients at Gandhi hospital have decided to go on hunger strike following the Union Health Ministry’s revised guidelines.

The two pages revised guideline replaces the rule that patients could be discharged only after testing negative on the 14th and 21st day after confirmation of the infection.

When NewsMeter contacted the Gandhi Administration, one of the doctors on the condition of anonymity said the Telangana government is yet to take a call on the revised guidelines. “Only based on the Telangana government decision we can think about whether to discharge these patients or not,” he said.

The doctor noted that a majority of patients in Gandhi hospital are asymptomatic and hence a demand for fresh ward or discharge cannot be easily entertained.

“The patients might be under the impression that positive patients coming in are giving them new infections. But I don’t know how far we can entertain it. It doesn’t make sense once you’re positive. Almost 99 percent of patients are asymptomatic in Gandhi. Only in the ICU, we have patients who are symptomatic and not in good condition,” the doctor said.

However, the patients are persistent on the demand for a new ward. They say they are ready to stay in the hospital as long as required but need a separate ward for asymptomatic patients.

“I and my father have been admitted for more than 40 days. Not even once I have sneezed. My third test was negative. The last test result is still awaited. We have seen batches getting admitted and also getting discharged right in front of us. This is mentally devastating,” said a young Covid-19 patient who is also on hunger strike.

Gandhi Superintendent Dr Raja Rao was not available to comment on this.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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