RANCHI/PATNA: Fresh concerns over jailed RJD president Lalu Prasad’s safety emerged on Tuesday as a doctor treating the former Bihar CM at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (Rims) was put under home quarantine after one of his patients tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday night. The doctor has said all patients under his care should be isolated immediately. Lalu’s room, at the hospital’s paying ward, where he is under treatment for multiple ailments since 2018, is now out-of-bounds for hospital staff.
Meanwhile, Lalu’s son and leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly Tejashwi Yadav took to social media and expressed concern over his father’s health. In a post on Twitter from its verified account, RJD also questioned why the state is not releasing its 72year-old chief despite the health scare. Earlier this month, the Jharkhand government — in which RJD is a partner — sought legal opinions from the state advocate general on whether to grant parole to Lalu.
Dr Umesh Prasad, professor of medicine at Rims, was in contact with an elderly from Ranchi who was admitted to his ward a couple of weeks ago. The man, who was scheduled to be shifted to Central Institute of Psychiatry in Kanke soon, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday evening.
Speaking to TOI, Prasad said: “After one of my patients tested positive for the new virus, the hospital’s Covid-19 task force advised me and my team members to go into home quarantine till our medical test reports arrive. Swab and blood samples have been collected from my team of 22 members, including senior and junior resident doctors, nurses, ward boys, trolley men and cleaning staff and the report is expected in a few days.”
Lalu’s samples will be collected on basis of their test results, says doctor
Prasad said Lalu’s samples will be collected depending on their test results. “Every bit of caution was being taken in handling Laluji. No resident doctor was being allowed in his room. I was maintaining a distance with him whenever I visited his ward for checkups. His blood tests were put on hold after Ranchi’s first positive case was brought into the hospital,” Prasad said. Rims management also confirmed that Lalu will be sampled if the doctor or any of his team members test positive.
Over the past few weeks since the Covid-19 outbreak in Ranchi, differences have emerged in ruling mahagathbandhan over Lalu. While Congress and RJD has been demanding his release on parole, particularly with the Bihar assembly polls scheduled to take place later this year, senior alliance partner JMM has been cautious on the issue.
Earlier this month, JMM sought legal opinion from the state advocate general on the issue soon after Tejashwi called up chief minister Hemant Soren and expressed concern over Lalu’s health as Rims was notified as a dedicated Covid-19 hospital.
Jharkhand Congress on Tuesday again demanded that Lalu be released on parole. “The matter was discussed at the previous cabinet meeting and the advocate general’s views were sought. With Lalu’s doctor coming in contact with a patient, the government must think on his parole on compassionate grounds,” state Congress spokesperson Alok Kumar Dubey said.
In Patna, Tejashwi also raised concerns over the well- being of his father. In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the former deputy CM of Bihar said, “At the age of 72, my father is suffering from multiple health ailments, including those related to kidney, heart and blood sugar problems among others. These underlying health ailments and old age makes him more vulnerable to Covid-19. He need more precaution and safety. Only those persons, who have a family, can understand the pain and stress we are facing.”
RJD also questioned why the Jharkhand government was not releasing their leader despite the health scare. “It’s a deliberate attempt to put his life in jeopardy. Knowing his preexisting health conditions, the least the government should have done was release him on parole,” RJD said in a post on its verified Twitter account.
Lalu is serving time at Birsa Munda jail Ranchi since December 23, 2017, after being convicted in the multicrore fodder scam cases. He has been undergoing treatment at Rims since August, 2018.
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