Indian medics are holding a ‘black ribbon protest’ to express disappointment over the revised guidelines issued by the Union and state health departments for health workers posted in COVID areas. It has been organised by the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) India.
The government issued revised guidelines for the health workers on May 15 wherein it removed the mandatory quarantine clause for health workers post COVID-19 duty, except for those who fit in the ‘high risk exposure’ criteria.
“Today’s ‘black ribbon protest’ at work is for the justified demand for adequate quarantine and testing for all doctors and other healthcare workers who are on COVID-19 duty. Since the incubation period of the virus is 2-14 days and many asymptomatic patients are also testing positive, quarantine post duty is a necessity,” explained FORDA President Shivaji Dev Barman.
They urge the Union Health Minister to make necessary amendments in order to stop the spread of the virus among family members, colleagues, and the medical community. They have said that they will intensify the agitation if the government does not pay attention to their issues.
The doctors claim this has put the healthcare workers in a dilemma with remarkable consequences.
“The healthcare fraternity is fighting a war on two fronts today. One is the obvious fight against COVID-19, the other is the fight for quarantine facilities. The new guidelines have augmented the mental stress of the COVID-19 warriors,” said Parv Mittal, President of the Resident Doctors Association at Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated Hospitals, Delhi.
With this symbolic protest, they hold to register grievances with policymakers.
“Quarantine is a measure to prevent the transmission of the virus to our parents, children and the community at large. Let us not jeopardise the excellent work done by the government for containing the COVID-19 outbreak,” Mittal said.
These sentiments were echoed by Prateek Goel, General Secretary of the Resident Doctor’s Association at LNJP Hospital, Delhi.
“This (protest) is to draw the attention of the Union government and the Delhi government so that they can withdraw the ‘no quarantine’ order. We don’t want your ‘Taali’ and ‘Thaali’. We want to serve the community for which we need proper 14 days of quarantine,” Goel said.