Baramulla: Health authorities in dock for issuing wrong COVID19 report

The health authorities here are in dock after a person shown negative for COVID19 and discharged from a quarantine centre, tested positive for the virus, resulting in the transmission of the infection among several of his family members.

Facing criticism, the administration has now ordered enquiry in to the incident and declared the area where the patients lives as red zone.

Hafiz, (name changed), a resident of Khawjabagh, Baramulla was quarantined at a centre here after his arrival from New Delhi on May 15.

After his three days stay in the quarantine centre, the health authorities discharged him on May 17, informing him he has tested negative for COVID19. He was also handed over a “COVID19 negative certificate.”

However, hours after his arrival at home where he interacted with family members and friends, the officials of health department and Chairman, Municipal Council Baramulla called him and directed him to report at the quarantine centre.

This time, he was told that his “actual report was blurred and he can’t be declared as negative for the infection till things become clear.”

The health authorities later recollected his sample and sent them for testing which turned out positive for the COVID19.

However, the time Hafiz spent at his home after his release from the quarantine centre proved devastating for the family as nine of his family members including his mother, and some of his friends tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

Amid fears that the negligence on part of the authorities might have resulted in further spread of the infection, the authorities late on Saturday evening declared Khawjabagh as COVID19 red zone.

The incident has evoked strong resentment from the local residents as well as the family members of Hafiz. They accused the officials of health department of “playing with the lives of people and pushing the entire family towards pain and agony.”

“A wrong COVOID19 report has left entire area in pain and agony. The authorities should fix the responsibility and those involved should be brought to book. The family is under stress and pain only because of the negligence of the health authorities,” said Farooq Ahmad, a resident of Khawjabagh.

Following the criticism from people, the Baramulla district magistrate ordered inquiry in to the incident.

“It has come in to the notice of this office that prescribed protocol governing the conduct and release of people in quarantine has been observed in breach. It has also been alleged that that due care has not been taken while analysing the results of the samples and the persons in quarantine have been released by issuing a negative test certificate by some BMOs while as final reports have indicated that they were positive. Special references have been made to the persons whose samples were collected at Jammu besides Bangladesh returnees” reads an order issued by the district magistrate.

In order to find out facts and circumstances which led to the situation, a four-member committee comprising Joint Director Planning, Baramulla, head of Department of Biochemistry, GMC Baramulla, Dr Farooq Ahmad and DSP, quarantine centres, Muhammad Shafi has been asked to submit its report within four days.