The Uttar Pradesh government Sunday withdrew its order prohibiting use of mobile phones by patients in isolation wards of COVID-19 hospitals, a senior official said.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Information) Awanish Awasthi said, “The government has withdrawn its order prohibiting the use of mobile phones by COVID-19 patients in isolation wards.”
He said the Medical Education Department has now issued a new order according to which, “Patients getting admitted to the COVID-19 isolation ward will have to give details of mobile phone, mobile number and mobile charger. The patient, who is getting admitted to the ward will have to first get the charger and mobile phone disinfected.”
Mr Awasthi also said that patients can keep the charger and the mobile phone with them.
“Mobile phones will not be given to any health worker or attendant. Since, we are worried about the patient, hence the Medical Education Department issued orders that all the belongings of the patient will be disinfected,” Mr Awasthi said.
Earlier in the day, questioning the government’s decision to prohibit coronavirus patients from using mobile phones inside isolation wards of COVID-19 hospitals, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had claimed the ban was put in place to hide the “poor condition” of hospitals in the state.
In a tweet in Hindi, the former UP chief minister said: “If infection spreads through mobile phones, then mobile phones should be banned across the country. Mobile phones provide mental support and help cope with loneliness.”
“In fact, the ban has been put in place, so that the truth about the poor condition of hospitals does not reach the common public. The need is to sanitise mobile phones and not impose a ban on them,” he said.
Director General Medical Education KK Gupta had directed all medical universities, institutes, private and government hospitals to ban the use of mobile phones by COVID-19 patients admitted in L-2 and L-3 COVID-19 hospitals.
He had also directed that the in-charge of COVID-19 hospitals be provided two mobile phones, so that patients admitted there could speak to their family members and vice-versa.