Nursing schools in India are being repeatedly infected with the coronavirus and doctors are urging their students to avoid travelling to the capital to work.
The Government of India said on Tuesday that it had detected and closed two nursing colleges, including one run by a government-run organisation, on Monday, after an outbreak at the private nursing home in the eastern city of Gaya.
“The government has also notified the concerned authorities of the two nursing schools for further investigation,” the National Rural Health Mission said in a statement.
“These institutions are now closed and will be closed again in two weeks.”
The National Rural Healthcare Mission, which is run by the state government, said in the statement that it was also examining the premises of the nursing homes to find out what may have been behind the outbreak.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said on Wednesday it had sent two specialists to Gaya to check on the situation.
The two hospitals were closed on Monday after a nursing home at the nursing home became infected with coronaviruses and was closed, the government-owned institute said in its statement.
The government-backed National Rural Medical Education Programme has also been notified for the outbreak and is working with the nursing institutions to ensure that they take preventive measures.
The programme aims to provide healthcare to about 5.5 million rural and urban students.
“We are also monitoring the nursing schools in Gaya,” the institute said.
“We are currently monitoring the situation at the two institutions to find what may be behind the outbreaks.”
Nursing home staff at one of the hospitals said the staff had been infected with COVID-19, and were “doing our best to stay out of the hospital.”
“The facility is under heavy quarantine and we are working to keep our staff safe,” a nursing student told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, using an alternative name for the coronovirus.
“Our aim is to stay home so as not to let the virus enter the hospital,” she added.
“It’s the first time we have been exposed to COVID and the staff is doing everything they can to protect themselves,” the nursing student said.
The hospital in Goda is owned by the Nursing and Allied Health Organisation (NIAO), which runs the Gaya Nursing Home.
The NIAO was not immediately available for comment.NIAE’s vice president Dr Sudhir Kapoor said in an email to Reuters that it is “aware of the outbreak of COVID (Co-Occurring Viruses and Other Pathogens) in the facility” and “is taking steps to isolate and control the situation.”
“We have been monitoring the case closely and will closely monitor the situation, and will soon provide an update on the condition of our staff,” Kapoor wrote.
Nepal has been grappling with an epidemic of coronaviral disease that has sickened thousands of people and left millions of others without adequate healthcare.
The death toll in Nepal has risen to nearly 6,500 from 5,300 on Tuesday, and there are reports of more deaths.
Narendra Sharma, a journalist in the capital, Kathmandu, said on Twitter that he had heard that at least 50 people had died from COVID.
“What we are seeing is that the death toll is increasing rapidly,” Sharma said.