Doctors on Covid-19 duty mobbed and coughed on; Kerala CM says attack may be politically motivated
A team of four, including a doctor who had started her practise ten days ago, a technician, and two nurses, one of whom was a mother of a one year old child were attacked by a mob in Kerala's capital.
The team of four drove to a community health center in the Poonthura containment zone in Thiruvananthapuram when a mob of nearly 50 people surrounded them and started verbally abusing them. The area the team was visiting had witnessed a sharp rise in the number of cases.
The team of four was mobbed and tried to speak to the crowd and calm them down. 'Since the car could not move ahead and people were banging the windows vigorously at the driver's side, our driver rolled down the window in an attempt to coax them to let us go. One of the men stuck his head inside the car and coughed at us saying, 'If we have Covid, you should have it too'," the young doctor told NDTV. According to sources from the Indian Medical Association, the inside of the car was also spat on.
The team will now be quarantined for a week and will be tested a week later. If their reports are negative, they will be able to report back to duty.
Kerala's health minister, K.K Shailaja spoke to the media, addressing her displeasure at the incident. 'We have been doing very intensive tests in this area. It's a focus for health workers. They are working very sacrificially. Instead of supporting them, it's very scary to hear that a doctor's vehicle was attacked by people. If they are attacked, who will treat people?,' she asked.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan believes that the attack was politically motivated. "People in Kerala are understanding and supportive but strict action will be taken against those instigating people, especially with disinformation," he said. He blamed a Youth Congress worker for the incident saying he had campaigned through WhatsApp to bring out people on to the streets to protest by spreading fake news.
In the containment zone at Poonthura, at least 31,985 people are living and the health measures of the state government were "sabotaged" by some people spreading fake news.
Thiruvananthapuram recorded 129 cases,the highest number for the second consecutive day on Friday out of which 122 people have been infected through contact and a majority of them are from Poonthura.
A major cause for concern for the Pinarayi government has been the protests that have recently broken out. People often gather in large numbers and do not follow social distancing measures or wear masks.