The Ghaziabad administration on Thursday clarified that an earlier order asking medical staff to stay in Delhi if their work involves travelling to the national Capital was not a compulsory one, The Indian Express reported. Ghaziabad Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Chandra had issued the initial order on May 6, amid the coronavirus crisis in which doctors and healthcare workers are on the frontlines to combat the pandemic.

On Thursday, Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey sent a show-cause notice to Chandra for issuing the order without consulting doctors and Residents’ Welfare Associations.

Ghaziabad Chief Medical Officer Narendra Gupta said the order did not intend to “hurt anyone’s sentiments”. “We did not intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments; the order was not meant to be compulsory,” Gupta said. “The appeal was made keeping in mind the coronavirus situation, and on suggestion of the surveillance team to restrict border movement. We hope the administration will provide co-operation in our fight against Covid-19.”

The administration had last month claimed that 71% of coronavirus cases in the district came from outside. Subsequently, the municipal commissioner of Ghaziabad on May 6 issued the order to Residents’ Welfare Associations asking them to tell doctors working in Covid-19 hospitals in Delhi to find accommodation in the national Capital.

The Indian Medical Association, Ghaziabad chapter, held discussions among its members on Thursday and opposed the order, the Hindustan Times reported. “The doctors and healthcare persons are taking best possible precautions about the infection,” IMA Ghaziabad President Dr VB Jindal said. “We don’t want such a stigma which may be seen as discrimination. We feel that RWAs or the councillors should not be given such powers for restricting doctors.”

The Ghaziabad administration’s order came at a time when doctors are being denied residence in their own societies. On May 6, a condominium in Vaishali area of Ghaziabad issued a circular banning the entry of medical personnel residing in the society, from May 10, The Times of India reported. On Thursday, another residential society also asked medical staff to stay away, citing the municipal commissioner’s order.

Two doctors from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad cities in Maharashtra were late last month asked to vacate their rented homes. On April 22, the central government had brought in an ordinance making attacks on healthcare professionals a non-bailable offence with imprisonment from six months to seven years.

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