The Centre has asked states to ensure uninterrupted movement of doctors and other healthcare workers during the ongoing lockdown, saying curbs on them can lead to severe constraints in rendering COVID and non-COVID medical services.
There have been reports of health care services being affected in some places including in the national capital after neighboring states closed down inter-state borders and barred the movement of medical workers.
In a letter to chief secretaries of all states and union territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said inter-state movement of doctors and paramedics should be facilitated wherever required.
“Any restrictions on the movement of medical professionals and para-medical staff can lead to severe constraints in rendering COVID and non-COVID medical services.
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“As such, ensuring the unhindered movement of all such medical professionals is essential for meeting public health requirements and saving precious human lives,” he said in the letter.
Bhalla said there have been reports of many private clinics and nursing homes not being allowed to open at several places.
Functioning of these medical facilities, which supplement the regular medical infrastructure, and relieve the burden on hospitals, is also crucial, he noted.
“I would urge all States and UTs to ensure that such clinics and nursing homes continue to function without any hindrances,” he said.
The home secretary said all states and UT governments should ensure that their field officials allow smooth movement of all medical professionals, nurses, paramedical, sanitation personnel, and ambulances.
They should also ensure the opening of all private clinics, nursing homes, and labs with all their medical professional and staff.
Bhalla also referred to a meeting held by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday where the issue of restrictions being imposed by some States and UTs on the movement of medical professionals and para-medical personnel was flagged.
“As you are aware, the services of the medical and para-medical staff are urgently required in meeting the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Furthermore, the existing staff, apart from this duty, also has to render normal responsibilities, such as conducting immunization programs, handling the onset of vector and other seasonal diseases, and meeting other non-COVID emergencies,” he said.
The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days to contain the spread of coronavirus.It was first extended till May 3 and again till May 17.