Kerala govt asks Gorakhpur’s Dr Kafeel Khan to defer his trip to Nipah-affected Kozhikode
Dr Kafeel Khan is out on bail after spending seven months in jail in connection with the deaths of 30 infants allegedly due to lack of oxygen supply at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur in August last year.
The Kerala government on Friday asked Dr Kafeel Khan, the suspended paediatrician of the BRD Medical College in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, to defer his plan to visit the areas affected by the deadly Nipah virus in the state.
The doctor, who volunteered to treat the virus-affected people, said he was “deeply saddened” by the government’s decision.
“I have been informed by the Kerala government to defer my travel plans. I am helpless and tried level best to render my service in the crisis situation. I don’t know what prompted the government to take such a decision at the eleventh hour,” he said while talking to the Hindustan Times over the phone.
He was planning to reach the worst-affected district of Kozhikode in north Kerala by Friday evening.
Dr Khan is out on bail after spending seven months in jail in connection with the deaths of 30 infants allegedly due to lack of oxygen supply at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College (BRDMC) in Gorakhpur in August last year.
The doctor took to social media to pay tributes to Lini, the nurse who succumbed to the virus, three days ago and offered to extend his services. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan responded immediately and he later announced his travel plans to Kerala.
Dr Khan said he has treated thousands of patients afflicted with Japanese encephalitis in Gorakhpur and thought his services would be of some help in the southern state.
“When I announced my decision to go to Kerala, my family members were really upset. I really struggled to convince them. But after the government’s decision, I am really upset. Still, I am waiting for the call,” he said.
Reports have said the Kerala government took a U-turn after the Bharatiya Janata Party and other opposition parties criticised the move to invite the doctor, who was facing charges in another state.
The reports also said that the principal of the BRD Medical College was against his proposed trip to Kerala, saying he needed the permission of the state health department.
No fresh case has been reported from the affected areas in the state.
Twelve people have died out of 20 affected in the state and eight infected are being treated in isolation wards and another seven without the Nipah symptoms are under observation, health officials said.
The blood samples of at least 80 people, including the hospital staff and persons who were in direct contact with the dead, have been sent for an examination, they added.
The government has called an all-party meeting in Kozhikode later on Friday evening.