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International patients advised to defer travel for surgeries

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On Friday, Gujarat’s Omicron cases reached 43 with 13 new cases in a day. Except four, all others either had travel history or were foreign nationals. Some of the positive patients were foreign nationals who were in the city or state for medical procedures. Keeping in mind the period where a large number of international patients arrive in the city for medical procedures ranging from stenting to knee and hip replacement surgeries, the city-based hospitals have put in place some checks and balances to reduce the chances of Covid cases.

Neeraj lal, COO of Apollo Hospitals in Gujarat, said they currently have a few interational patients under treatment that undergo all safety protocols.

“If the patients have not already reached India and if it’s not an emergency procedure, we ask them to defer travel if possible. We also have a good number of international patients who stay in the city for follow-ups. We are following stringent protocols for them. For example, irrespective of their Covid status, the patients’ rapid PCR is carried out and is followed up after 3 days before admission,” he said.

Dr. Nishita Shukla, group pf COO of Shalby Hospitals, said that international air travel had started some months ago and international patients had started arriving by October. “Thus, the rise in Omicron cases is going to impact the usual flow. We ask for negative RT-PCR before admisission and follow the govrnment guidelines,” she said.

Namisha Gandhi, VP of Sterling Hospitals, said that the patients are asked to defer their travel plans if possible. “Those who are following up after surgery and living in the city for 1-2 months, they also undergo tests. For all surgeries, irrespective of their nationality, we conduct RT-PCR test for safety,” she said, adding that foreign travel history is added in the patient detail as a new fiels to fill up.

“Ahmedabad is established as a medical tourism hub, and the months from November to February are marked by the arrival of international patients. But this year, the Covid-19 Scenerio may hamoer it. The number of foreign patients will not be over 50-100 currently in the city,” said Dr Bharat Gandhi, president of AHNA.

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