LAHORE: Eleven doctors who had tested positive for the coronavirus made escaped from the Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital Muzaffargarh, risking lives of many others in the wee hours on Monday. However, police managed to stop the fleeing doctors at some distance from the hospital and shifted them to back Dera Ghazi Khan Teaching Hospital from where they were brought to Muzaffargarh.

The doctors forcibly left the hospital amid resistance by the security staff and came out of the hospital, an official told Dawn. He said the doctors, including some senior office bearers of the Young Doctors Association Punjab, had tested positive for the virus while discharging duties at the Teaching Hospital Dera Ghazi Khan. They were shifted to the Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital Muzaffargarh at around 2am on Monday, he said.

The official added that as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the hospital, no admission of Covid-19 patient was permitted after 10 pm. However, the rules were relaxed for the doctors due to their profession. They were warmly welcomed by recipient hospital administration and bouquets of flowers were presented to them on behalf of Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar. Soon after admission to the coronavirus ward of the hospital, the official alleged, the medics started creating mess and refused to stay there. As the administration tried to convince them, the doctors clashed with the security staff and fled the health facility. The door panes of the hospital and furniture were also damaged, the official claimed, adding that the administration of the health facility immediately alerted the police as well the health authorities about the incident. A contingent of police rushed to the spot and launched a search for the medics.

The official expressed fears that the workers at the filter clinic and reception might be at risk of contracting the virus when they tried to stop fleeing medics.

Muzaffargarh District Police Officer Nadeem Abbas confirmed the incident, saying the police had managed to stop the fleeing doctors at some distance of the hospital. He said the authorities had shifted them back to DG Khan.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2020