West Bengal bans mobile phones from Covid-19 wards in all hospitals

The West Bengal Department of Health has barred cell phones in all hospitals in Covid-19 wards, saying that telephone surfaces are possible carriers of new coronavirus too. The ban has sparked claims that the move was deliberately aimed at restricting the flow of information about possible mismanagement from the Covid-19 wards.

by Niranjani Jesentha Kumari Prabagararaj

Updated: Apr 23, 2020 15:25 IST

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Covid-19 hospitals

Although a section of doctors said that, if not properly disinfected, a mobile phone could potentially carry the virus, another section of doctors said the ban could adversely affect Covid-19 patients who are kept in isolation and use the mobile phone a lot to stay busy.

The instruction was provided by an additional secretary of the state government's department of health and family welfare on Tuesday night in a WhatsApp message sent to the district magistrates, chief health officer, and superintendents of all Covid-19 hospitals. A top official of the state's health administration reported on Wednesday that cell phones were currently being banned. Because mobile phones may be a possible source of Covid-19 infection dissemination, no one will be allowed to hold, own, or use cell phones within the State's Covid hospitals. It extends to all individuals inside the hospital, whether duty-bound patients or staff. The deposit of mobile phones of patients may be taken, and they may be given a receipt, "reads the internal message.

Senior doctor Punyabrata Goon said he believed that the move by the government is intended to obstruct the flow of information from Covid-19 wards. Incidentally, a video from his Twitter account that allegedly showed mismanagement at M R Bangur Hospital, a Covid-19 hospital in Kolkata, had been posted by Central Minister Babul Supriyo.

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