Thirty-two-year-old Nitin Yadav, a doctor by profession, looks after coronavirus suspects at quarantine facilities in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district. Yadav works in the leprosy department of the Moradabad district hospital but been tasked to handle quarantine centres in the city and adjoining areas.

His responsibility is to ensure all patients, who visit the centre, are tested for COVID-19 and the ones turning out positive are shifted to the hospitals. But that’s not it. Yadav, besides fulfilling his primary responsibility, also gets essential commodities for patients during their stay at facilities.

From arranging sanitary pads for women to diapers for a toddler, Yadav steps up every time someone needs him. Occasionally, when the canteen ran out of milk, Yadav would drive to the city in the midnight and request local shopkeepers to for help.

Yadav says these problems begin the day police bring COVID-19 suspects to a quarantine facility.

“The suspects don’t get time to carry even their essential items. They are hurriedly packed into ambulances and dropped at quarantine homes,” he said.

They spend two to three days in quarantine homes until their tests results are out. Some times even if a member tests positive, the entire family, with small kids, is brought for quarantine.

The women, and mostly, kids need help, he says. “At midnight, a male member of a family asked for a sanitary pad for his wife. In such a situation, anyone would do his best to help her. That’s what I did,” Yadav said.

He had to rush to the market, request a local shopkeeper to open the shop and buy it.

Many suspects, who spent time in quarantine in IFTM University, laud Yadav for his dedication and efforts. “It was in the middle of the night when half-a-dozen kids started demanding milk. The canteen had run out of milk. We told Dr Yadav, who took his car out, drove to the market and came back with packets of dry milk power,” Naeem Ali, a COVID suspect quarantined at IFTM, said.

Rizwan Khan, another suspect, heaped praises on Yadav for being friendly and cooperative all the time. “You call him anytime during the day or night; he has an answer to your problem,” Khan said.

However, Yadav gives credit to the Chief Medical Officer and District Magistrate for ensuring good care of all the patients.

“I give full credit to Naved, a person who is a facility in-charge for quarantine homes. He is always on his toes for everything,” he says.

Yadav also says that looking after suspects in quarantine is far tougher than treating a patient in the isolation ward.

“We don’t know who is positive. Minor negligence can be life-threatening for a doctor. Two doctors got infected and one lost his life in the district,” Yadav said.

Yadav’s senior asked him to make arrangements for the doctor’s burial which he did. The other, who tested positive, Dr Bhaskar Agarwal, is his close friend with whom he had started his career.

“Many people cannot understand the kind of psychological pressure under which we work. We have to risk our own lives to save them,” Yadav said.

Yadav has a two-year-old kid but he hasn’t seen him since April 10. “I miss my family but at the moment our priority is to look after patients,” he said.

The district administration has converted institutes like IFTM University and Moradabad Institute of Technology into quarantine centres for suspects. Based on their COVID test results, they are shifted to the designated COVID hospitals.

Until now, Moradabad has seen 126 positive cases, of which 90 have recovered. Five patients have died. The city still has 31 active cases.

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