Delay in testing of symptomatic patients, 'expired' medicines worry quarantine inmates

Inmates of Nambol quarantine centre reportedly refrained from taking their lunch to protest against the “drawn-out” delay in testing for COVID-19 despite some inmates showing symptoms.

As many as 90 inmates of a community quarantine centre at Nambol, Manipur on Sunday reportedly refrained from taking their lunch to protest against the “drawn-out” delay in testing for COVID-19 despite some inmates showing COVID-19 symptoms.

The inmates at the Nambol Higher Secondary School returned from Bengaluru and have been quarantined since May 27, sources said.

“We are already on our 12th day of quarantine and the 14-day quarantine as prescribed by the government will be completed in a few days. But we are yet to be tested for COVID-19 despite repeated appeals to officials concerned,” lamented one of the inmates, who chose to remain anonymous.

Speaking to the Imphal Free Press over telephone, the inmate said she along with seven others, including a one-and-half-month-old baby, share a room at the quarantine centre.

“After four of us started developing COVID-19 symptoms-like fever around a week ago, we requested the nodal officer for Nambol assembly constituency multiple times for our testing. However, our requests are in vain and even our temperature has not been screened except for the first day when we reached,” she contended.

She said that temperature screening, which was supposed to be done a few days ago, was also cancelled, after the screening machine was not working properly.

In a rather shocking incident, she alleged, “The doctor on duty on June 3 had given us expired medicines when we complained of our fever. The expiry date was written as May 2020 and when we complained, the nodal officer instead told us that some medicines may be consumed within three months after expiry date.”

The worried inmate continued that they are not demanding any luxurious amenities. “The officials should understand better that it is for the good of everyone. We want to be tested at the earliest,” she stated, adding that many who returned along with them from Bengaluru and put up in other quarantine centres have been discharged after being tested negative.

The mother of the one-and-half-month-old baby, while noting that the baby must have not developed any immunity, said that she has been extremely worried after the baby also started sneezing since the last two days. Even if it is not possible to test all the inmates at one time, she urged for testing the inmates which are staying in the said room along with those who have developed fever at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the nodal officer for Nambol assembly constituency appointed by the government in managing COVID-19 crisis, Binakumari clarified that testing for the inmates in Nambol Higher Secondary School was delayed as testing has been prioritised for the containment zones and contacts of persons who have been already confirmed for COVID-19. She also refuted the allegation that the doctor gave expired medicines to the inmates.

Meanwhile, according to information received by the Imphal Free Press, it is said that the officials concerned have given assurance to conduct COVID-19 tests by Wednesday after the inmates protested.

First Published:June 7, 2020, 9:21 p.m.