On 14th March, I went to Kasturba Hospital, the only hospital in Mumbai where you can get yourself checked for Coronavirus or Covid-19. When you enter, they ask you to head to the Coronavirus OPD, where about 100 people are lined up for a checkup. Everyone is wearing the ordinary mask that you can get hold of at a chemist. Not many are wearing the N95 mask.
The process at the hospital is:
First, to get yourself checked from a doctor. If the doctor is of the opinion that you need to be checked further, they put you in a room and ask you to give a throat swab.
The doctor’s criteria for MOST check-ups is your travel history, which isn’t an ideal criterion, I weep. Now, the catch here is, the throat swab is taken only at particular hours on a day. So, if you go before or after that time, they keep you in a room through the day or overnight.
If your report is negative, they let you out immediately. But if it’s positive, they keep you there for 14 days. On the 7th and 10th day, you’re tested again, and if it comes out to be negative, you can leave on the 14th day. I spoke to three people who were asked to get themselves checked. As they were waiting, they weren’t kept in quarantine or any isolation. In fact, these people were asked to stay in same-gender rooms along with 10-20 people.
Let’s just say, you haven’t even got the virus yet but there is a possibility, and hence you’re at the hospital to get yourself checked. However, you are kept in a room with 10-20 people, who may or may not be infected. This is absolutely ridiculous. The chances of someone going there for a check-up and contracting the virus are steep! People were asked to queue up for hours. I was there for about three hours and still wasn’t in, with so many people around me.
My point being, you ask people to stay away from crowded places, to be secluded if you’re down with the flu. But you only provide one, ONE centre for a check-up with a bare minimum staff to check, and horrible facilities. When we asked the help there to assist, they were rude and asked us to shut up and stand in the queue.
Other extremely salient things to keep in mind before going:
Do not go with an elderly person or a child.
Wear a mask, and carry wet wipes and a sanitiser.
Also, carry a book,
and a bottle of water and something to eat when you go there.
I’m really scared about this entire thing spreading across our city, because I am sure that after what I saw today, there is no way, we are going to be able to manage it. They couldn’t hold up 10,000 people. How are they going to manage the situation if this turns crazy like it has in Italy, China and France? People are going to suffer more because of lack of facilities than their health conditions. I saw it.
It’s in a pathetic condition and it’s shameful that our country has no, no, no respect for human lives. We had about 45-60 days to prepare and yet, here we are. I’m really not the kind to bad mouth about India, but what I saw today was shameful. I’m putting this out here, so it can help those who need to go to the hospital.
‘This is a testing period for me, you, and all of us, but more importantly, it is a testing period for the Government of India, and I pray that they pass.”