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OPD patients drop by over 70 per cent

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, March 28 - The COVID-19 scare has led to drastic drop in OPD patients in hospitals, with some even pegging the fall to over 70 per cent.

Most hospitals say the phenomenon is spontaneous ever since the viral pandemic reached India as people with minor ailments are not visiting or consulting doctors. This has been observed in all the NE States.

�Our OPD patients have suddenly decreased by almost 70 per cent since the last few days. OPD is a place where maximum people gather for registration, payment, etc. But due to panic of Covid-19, it seems non-emergency patients have restricted their movement to the hospital,� general manager of Hayat Hospital Paragjyoti Dutta said.

Though normal admission and emergency cases are still going on, most people are abiding by the lockdown situation and maintaining their social distance out of fear, he added. Health experts say the phenomenon indicates the efficacy of government�s approach towards the pandemic and its primary prevention.

A senior doctor of a private hospital said that his hospital authorities have taken measures to reduce the number of OPD patients by stopping OPD consultations and sticking to only emergency services to the utmost needy, like stroke, road traffic accidents, heart attacks and other similar diseases which demand immediate life-saving measures.

�These steps on behalf of the private practitioners have markedly cut down the number of OPD patients, thereby limiting the man-to-man transmission of the most dreaded virus known to mankind,� he said.

A doctor of another private hospital, where OPD patients have dropped by 80 per cent in the last few days, said hospitals are one of the places where the virus can spread rapidly. �It is sensible on the part of people having minor illness to stay away from hospitals at this stage. We are also discouraging patients not to visit hospitals, unless their cases are of serious nature. In case anyone has symptoms of coronavirus they should visit the hospitals dedicated for the purpose so that necessary care is taken keeping in mind the patients and staff at other hospitals,� he said.

Yesterday, the health department had signed MoUs with 34 private hospitals in the city to redirect the GMCH general patients to them. The GMCH has been closed down for general patients from today and has been kept aside for coronavirus cases. A similar arrangement was also made in Dibrugarh today.

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