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Published On: Sun, Apr 19th, 2020

Meerut Hospital Bars Muslim Patients Who Don’t Come With Test for COVID-19

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HospitaladdMEERUT: A privately-run cancer hospital in western UP’s Meerut waded into controversy this week after it said Muslim patients and their attendants would only be admitted if they tested negative for the COVID-19 virus. The outrageous declaration was made in an ad posted in a local newspaper.
The hospital is a dedicated cancer hospital with 50 beds and caters to the population around Meerut including Mawana, Sardhana and Muzaffarnagar.   “Several Muslim patients are not following the guidelines (like using a mask, maintaining hygiene) and they are also misbehaving with hospital staff.
For the security of hospital’s staff and patients, the hospital administration requests all new Muslim patients that they and one designated caretaker get tested for COVID-19 and visit the hospital only if their reports are negative,” a part of the advertisement issued by the Valentis cancer hospital in the Meerut edition of the Hindi daily on Friday read.
This policy adopted and published by the hospital is a violation of the National Human Rights Commission’s charter of patient rights which was adopted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and circulated in March 2019. According to point 8 of the charter, titled ‘Right to Non-Discrimination’, no patient can be denied treatment on the basis of his/her religion or illness.The Jamaat issue also found a mention in the hospital’s advertisement.

Curiously, the same ad also hit out at Hindu and Jain patients, accusing the wealthy sections of both communities of being “misers” and demanding they contribute to PM Modi’s PM Cares Fund; it is not known if the hospital claimed to regard donation to the fund as price of admittance for Hindus and Jains.
Faced with backlash over the advertisement, the hospital issued a clarification in a second advertisement. Nevertheless, a case has been filed against the owner of the hospital, who has been accused of “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings”.
Uttar Pradesh, one of the most populous states in the country and where Muslims form around 20 per cent of the population, is also one of the worst-hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak; over 970 cases have been recorded and 14 deaths have been linked to the virus.
Over 150 containment zones, or coronavirus hotspots, have been identified across the state. 70 cases and two deaths have been reported from Meerut, where the hospital is located.

The Valentis Cancer Hospital’s specific reference to Muslim patients and the spread of the infectious COVID-19 virus comes amid nationwide hostile reaction to the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic sect that defied health warnings to hold a religious event in Delhi last month.
The Health Ministry has said that around 30 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the country (or over 4,200) have been linked to the event at the Markaz Nizamuddin, a 1,000-year-old complex. At least 9,000 people participated in the event with thousands later traveling to various parts of the country.
In its daily press briefing the ministry also said that around 60 per cent of coronavirus cases in UP (or around 590) were connected to the Tablighi Jamaat.
(With Inputs from Wire ).

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