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Coronavirus in SA: Cape doctor at the forefront of the fight urges people to stay indoors

Saumya Tiwari Gautam. Picture: Supplied

Saumya Tiwari Gautam. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 1, 2020

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Durban - Medical doctor Saumya Tiwari Gautam, who is based at the Mowbray Maternity Hospital in Cape Town, prays every day that her family back home in India are safe.  

Gautam, 33, of Century City, said her parents were also doctors and ran a hospital in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

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“I pray for them and their safety as we face this coronavirus pandemic,” said Gautam, who last saw them when she visited India in February.

“Every day, we call or face time with each other to make sure everything is okay. We are so far apart but I keep a positive mindset.”

She said she also worried about her husband, Siddharth, a plastic and reconstruction surgeon at the Tygerberg Hospital.

Saumya Tiwari Gautam is at the forefront of the fight against the novel coronavirus which has claimed thousands of lives worldwide.

Picture: Supplied

It is the hub for treating Covid-19 patients in Western Cape.

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“Our lives have changed over the past month.

“My husband and I have had to sacrifice our time together as I work a 24-hour shift.

“And during this time, doctors and other healthcare professionals are working on the front line and are exposed to patients with the virus. However, we are equipped with all the precautionary needs, including hand sanitisers, gloves and face masks.”

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Gautam said the virus could be contracted directly or indirectly.

“Also, you don’t know who is positive or negative until they are screened. But it is our duty to save lives and this is the sacrifice we make.”

She commended President Cyril Ramaphosa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for implementing lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus. But during this period, she noticed communities were not taking the presidential orders in South Africa seriously.

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“We will do our bit in the healthcare profession but people need to ensure they stay indoors and keep to the regulations, which includes social distancing and practising proper hygiene. It is also a time to assist the vulnerable members of society, including the elderly and poverty-stricken.” 

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