A couple in Delhi, at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19, say their life has changed in the last few months, both on the personal and professional front.
Dr Rashmi Mishra, 28, and Dr Ishan Rohatgi, 29, work at the government-run Lok Nayak Hospital. They got married in July last year. Like all newly-weds, the couple had plans to spend time with each other, travel, and start a family. All those plans have taken a backseat for now.
Both work grueling 12-hour shifts on most days as doctors and medical professionals handle a deluge of coronavirus cases in hospitals across the national capital.
Rashmi and Ishan met their families a few months ago and have been in touch with them only through texts and video calls since.
"We have not met our families since March and video calls and messages are the only way forward," Dr Ishan Rohatgi told NDTV.
For the couple, a day at work these days looks like this: They enter the hospital through the green area. After putting on PPE gowns and masks, they enter the red area. They are then updated about patients by the outgoing shift, after which the two go on rounds. They work for two weeks at a stretch, followed by a quarantine period of seven days. Shifts vary from six to 12 hours. They are in PPE gowns and masks for around five hours in a six-hour shift. During this time, they are not allowed to eat, drink, or use the toilet.
The two barely get time to talk to each other during the shift hours. They meet during change of shifts; discussions mostly revolve around work.
"We enquire about each other and tell each other to take full precautions and be safe," says Dr Ishan Rohatgi.
Rashmi and Ishan say they try to act as a bridge between the patients and their families. Dealing with the death of a patient - with their families and loved ones not by their side - is the toughest part.
"Breaking the news to the families is very difficult and traumatising," Dr Rashmi Mishra told NDTV.
The couple are staying in a guest house near the hospital these days.
Rashmi and Ishan say their families have been supportive right from the beginning. The couple decided to move into a guest house near the hospital to prevent carrying the infection home. Their families, they say, have always stood by them during this difficult time.
As the city sees a surge in coronavirus cases, the couple cautions that the pandemic is far from over.
"We would like to request the public to think twice before venturing out, apart from their jobs. Everything else can wait - pizza, spas and shopping can be done after a few months. When you are out, follow social distancing strictly, wear masks and wash hands with soap and water frequently"