U.K. returnees in the dark about test report


Those admitted in Victoria hospital claim to be clueless of whether they have contracted the new strain of the COVID-19 virus

U.K. returnees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and admitted in the Trauma and Emergency Care Centre (TECC) on the Victoria hospital campus allege that they are not being told about their new strain status even after discharge.

Passengers who have returned from the U.K. are being isolated and admitted in separate wards of government COVID-19 facilities as soon as their RT-PCR reports are positive. However, they say that doctors are not letting them know their new strain status. So far, 25 U.K. returnees have been admitted at TECC and 10 have been discharged.

Prashant Agarwal, a 50-year-old patient who was discharged from TECC on Thursday, told The Hindu that he is still not aware of his new strain status. “There is so much hype about the new strain. Anyone returning from the U.K. is being treated as an alien. Although I have been in the hospital for 14 days, I have not been told if I have contracted the new strain, not even after discharge. Mine is not an isolated case,” he said.

Stating that this has increased his stress and anxiety levels, Mr. Agarwal said it is the patient’s right to know the lab reports. “Whenever we asked for the genome sequencing report, doctors told us that NIMHANS would convey it to the Centre and from there it would come to the State and then to the hospital,” he said.

“Although it does not make any difference whether my infection is the new strain or not, I wanted to know as I had tested RT-PCR negative before boarding from Atlanta, US. I transited through the UK and landed in Bengaluru on December 21 and must have contracted the infection enroute,” he said.

Smitha Agarwal, his wife, alleged that her husband was not even given basic medicine for fever and cold till the fifth day in TECC. She had to send paracetamol and vitamin C tablets from home till the fifth day. “It was only after his oxygen level dropped that they started medication,” she alleged adding that the family was not even informed before discharge.

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Another patient, who was discharged two days ago, had a similar experience. Refusing to be named, he said he was not informed whether he was positive for the new strain or not. “Is it not my right as a patient to know about my reports?”

Smitha Segu, nodal officer for COVID-19 at Victoria hospital, said only those who were positive for the new strain had been informed. Admitting that even those who are negative should have been informed, she said, “Their reports may not have come when they asked for the status.”

Mother, child discharged

A 35-year-old woman and her 6-year-old daughter from Vasanthapura ward 197 in Bommanahalli zone, who tested positive for the UK strain of the COVID-19 virus on December 22, were discharged on Wednesday. They were part of the first list of 38 persons who flew from the UK to Karnataka and were tracked down by the State government.

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Sagar Biswas

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