The Indian Medical Association on Saturday said nearly 200 doctors, mostly general practitioners, had lost their lives due to the coronavirus, PTI reported. The health body, which represents 3.5 lakh doctors across the country, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that frontline healthcare workers and their families received the assured treatment when infected.

In a letter to Modi, the IMA submitted a list of 196 doctors who have succumbed to the disease and warned that the mortality rate has reached an alarming proportion now. Tamil Nadu has lost 43 doctors, the highest in the list.

“As per the latest data collected by the IMA, our nation has lost 196 doctors, out of which 170 of them are above the age of 50 years, with general practitioners attributing to around 40% of it,” the letter said.

The association said general practitioners are the first point of contact as well as care, adding that a significant proportion of the population consults them for fever and related symptoms. “It is pertinent to mention that Covid-19 does not differentiate between government and private sector and affects all same,” it added.

The health body said that there have been disturbing reports of doctors and their families not getting beds for admission, and have also lacked drugs in many cases. “IMA thus requests the government of India to provide adequate attention for the safety and welfare of doctors during the pandemic,” said Rajan Sharma, IMA national president.

The letter also requested the prime minister to extend state sponsored medical and life insurance facilities to doctors in all sectors. “Saving each and every life of a doctor will ensure safety of thousands of patients who depend on their care,” it added. “Doctors who have died in line of their professional duty merit favourable consideration for succour and solace to their families. It is thus pertinent for the IMA to also draw your attention to the demoralising effect to our healthcare community.”

India recorded 61,537 new coronavirus cases on Saturday morning, taking the country’s tally to 20,88,611. With 933 deaths, the toll rose to 42,518.