The government in India has been urging people to use sanitisers and face masks, but people in Delhi’s old people's homes, under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), do not have these basic necessities amid the coronavirus outbreak.
There are about 50 nursing homes in the national capital and three – Sandhya Home For Senior Citizen, Aaradhna Senior Citizen Home and Aashirwad Old Age Home – come under the New Delhi Municipal Council.
A warden at one such facility has revealed that the elderly have not even been visited by the doctors for basic health check-ups since the outbreak of the virus.
“We have not been provided with sanitisers or masks for the elderly. Though the visits from the outsiders have been prohibited”, the warden said.
With a capacity of 35, the Aardhana retirement home houses 25 senior citizens who are visited by families and relatives.
Old age homes in Delhi do not even have the arrangement of on call doctors in case a resident is sick. Taking them to a hospital amid #CoronavirusOutbreak only makes them more vulnerable.@ArvindKejriwal @drharshvardhan pic.twitter.com/OetuacwM8y— Aakriti Sharma (@_aakritisharma) March 28, 2020
The warden said that if any of the residents get sick, they will have to take themselves to the hospital as there is no arrangement for doctors available on call. This is amid the situation when the elderly have been completely advised to stay indoors, and visiting the hospital in case of an emergency makes them more vulnerable.
India has witnessed 19 deaths due to COVID-19 and recorded 873 positive cases, as per the country's Health Ministry. Meanwhile, most of the deadly cases have been recorded among the elderly.
The country detected its first COVID-19 death on 12 March, and the deceased was a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi city in Karnataka state. He died due to a comorbidity condition such as hypertension, asthma, as well as diabetes, and had also tested positive for the coronavirus.
Among the four deaths in Maharashtra, all the deceased persons were in their sixties and lost their lives due to health complications like blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems. In Punjab, a 72-year-old man who died due to the coronavirus virus had returned from Germany via Italy.
The pattern of deaths has suggested that coronavirus casualties in India consists of mostly men in their fifties or sixties and have comorbid conditions. As per doctors, the elderly are more likely to get comorbidities such as diabetes or heart, lung, or kidney disease, which can weaken their body's ability to fight the virus.