Govt to add 20K more Covid beds

New Delhi: The Delhi government in a major move to dramatically increase the number of beds for Coronavirus patients has now requisitioned 20,000 COVID-19 beds in the Capital. According to an official, around 40 hotels and 80 banquet halls will be converted into health facilities to provide medical care to Coronavirus-infected people, as per directions given to district officials here.

However, in a late-night move on Sunday, the Delhi government withdrew its order directing all small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes (with 10-49 bed capacity) in the city to be converted into COVID-19 nursing homes.

As per the order issued on Saturday night, small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes in the city having 10 to 49 beds had been declared as "COVID nursing homes" by the Delhi government to increase the bed capacity for Coronavirus patients.

After the order was issued, the Delhi Medical Association had objected to the move. The DMA, in a letter to the CM, had raised concerns saying the order is going to harm the healthcare needs of the non-COVID patients and will put residents of small colonies at severe risk. The order on nursing homes had come even after an earlier order had asked nursing homes with over 50 beds to reserve 20 per cent of their beds for COVID-19 patients.

Following the government's order to the District Magistrates, the northwest district administration has issued an order to convert 22 banquet halls into health facilities where around 3,300 beds will be set up by authorities. "As per the plan, banquet halls will be attached to nursing homes while in hotels, extended services of hospitals will be provided," a Delhi government official said.

"Hotels will have 4,000 beds while banquets halls will have 11,000 beds. Other facilities will have 5,000 beds," the official added, further saying that all district officials had been directed by the Arvind Kejriwal-government to convert the required number of banquet halls and hotels to prepare for the oncoming spike of cases.

The Delhi government had recently projected that there would be a requirement of over 15,000 COVID beds till June 30 and by the end of the first fortnight of July, the requirement would further swell up to more than 33,000 COVID beds.

After what CM Kejriwal called an "extremely productive" meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah and other senior government officials,

the CM tweeted that the Centre and his government would fight the COVID-19 battle together and that many key decisions were taken in the review meeting.

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