Video of dirty isolation centre in Pune exposes admin’s clean-up act
Sinks covered with vomit, piles of discarded clothes of discharged Covid-19 patients, lobby filled with garbage and food containers, greeted the eyes of inmates of the isolation centre at Sinhgad College Girls Hostel in Vadgaon Budruk.
With 240 rooms, the hostel, as of Wednesday, caters to 450 Covid-19 patients who test positive for the Sars-Cov-2 virus and mostly live in Tadiwala road and Bhavani peth slums. One of the patients recorded a video of his ordeal at the isolation centre and uploaded the video on his social media pages.
The video allegedly also shows how inmates have been made to clean the dirty corridors of the centre. Once the video was widely circulated on social media, the administration swung into action and cleared the garbage and sanitised the rooms. However, civic officials also stated that patients were the one to blame as they have been creating problems as they do not want to stay in the hostel.
The patient who recorded the video is a resident of Sant Gadge Maharaj Vasahat which is close to Koregaon Park. The patient said, “We were first housed at the Kasturba Civic School, where our swabs were collected on Friday and then till Monday, we were housed there. When the results were received, the positive patients were taken to the Sinhgad College hostel, which is an isolation centre. At least 100 people were kept in the school without following any social distancing and hence, suspected positive and negative cases were all huddled together.”
The patient further alleged that none of the positive patients were shown their results. “When we came here, we had only one drinking water tap for 450 patients and the sinks were stinking as they had not been cleaned, garbage and food packages were kept in the corridor. We did not get masks and we have been using the same mask since the past three days, we were not given any sanitisers and the clothes and belongings of other patients had not been discarded. We had to clean our rooms ourselves as none of the workers were ready to clean it. Once I put the video online, the sanitation workers came and cleared the centre.”
Shekhar Gaikwad, Pune municipal commissioner, said, “We will have to investigate this particular case because we do provide sanitisers and masks to everyone and have placed it inside each room and at the entrance too. This could be a complaint from one person out of the thousands, who have been isolated. The masks which we provide are reusable most of the time. It can be washed and reused. However, I will inquire into these complaints.”
Santosh Tandale, civic officer incharge of the centre, said, “Most of the patients are asymptomatic and would be discharged in just ten days. The patients did not want to stay here and so they are making these excuses. The garbage in the video had not been stacked for days, but were food packets from the same morning which were not cleared. We cleaned it in the evening. The sanitation staff regularly cleans the centre, but some of the patients want to be shifted to the Nicmar facility at Balewadi as some of their relatives are there, but it is full. Hence, they are raising these issues here. We have arranged for some counselling sessions to help them understand the issue and they will be discharged in ten days as most of them are asymptomatic.”