In a bid to battle the soaring virus crisis in the national capital, the AAP government has ordered to set up close to 20,000 beds for Covid-19 patients by turning hotels and banquet halls into makeshift care facilities in Delhi.
The Delhi government said it aims to operationalise these facilities in the next one week. In a press statement, the government stated that around 4,000 beds will be set up in hotels and roughly 11,000 will be in banquets halls.
Small and medium multispeciality nursing homes with 10 to 49 beds will also be converted to Covid-19 facilities, and will augment capacity by 5,000 beds, CM Arvind Kejriwal said.
The addition will fufil need for a quarter of the 80,000 beds expected to be needed by July-end to cope with the spiraling coronavirus cases. The national capital has logged nearly 38,000 cases so far.
On Saturday, two luxury hotels in South Delhi, Vasant Continental and Hyatt Regency, were asked set up rooms to take in patients from the hospitals they were being attached to.
According to a list released on Friday night, the government aims to set up 11,229 beds in 77 banquet halls, which will function under the Delhi government, and 4,628 beds in 40 hotels, which will be supervised by private hospitals.
Earlier on May 29, the Delhi government in a unique move identified the first five hotels and issued an order to this effect.
In these luxury hotel-turned-nursing homes, which are mainly for people with moderate symptoms, a COVID-19 patient will be charged a minimum of Rs 63,000 a week, in case of a three or four-star hotel.
However, if it’s a five-star hotel, the weekly charge will be at least Rs 70,000, excluding charges for oxygen support, for which patients will have to pay Rs 2,000 a day.
Meanwhile, an official order from the Delhi government on Saturday declared small and medium multi-speciality nursing homes having 10 to 49 beds as "COVID nursing homes" to increase the bed capacity for coronavirus patients.
Only standalone exclusive eye centres, ENT centres, dialysis centres, maternity homes and IVF centres are presently exempted, the order said.
"In order to avoid intermingling of COVID and non-COVID patients in small and medium multispeciality nursing homes (10 bedded to 49 bedded) and also to augment the bed capacity for COVID-19 patients, all nursing homes in NCT of Delhi having bed strength of 10 beds or more up to 49 beds are declared as COVID nursing homes," it said.
All such nursing homes (10 bedded to 49 bedded) are required to make their COVID beds functional within three days of the issuance of the order failing which it would be treated as violation of Clause 14.1 of the schedule appended to Rule 14 of the Delhi Nursing Homes Registration (Amendment) Rules, 2011, it said.
It added that "action, as deemed fit, would be initiated against the defaulter nursing home".
The government on May 24 had directed 117 nursing homes/private hospitals having bed strength of 50 beds or more to reserve/ earmark at least 20 per cent of their total bed strength for COVID-19 patients.
The national capital witnessed the highest spike in 24 hours as 2,134 fresh cases were reported on Saturday with a total of 38,958 infections and 1,271 fatalities. Delhi has 22,742 active cases.
There have been complaints of non-availability of beds or denial of treatment to COVID-19 patients in the national capital despite nearly 70 per cent of beds in five designated hospitals run by the Delhi government lying vacant according to government claims, with experts attributing it to people's aversion towards state-run facilities.
As per the latest information shared on 'Delhi Corona' app on Thursday afternoon, more than 3,000 beds are lying vacant in these five dedicated COVID-19 hospitals that have a total capacity of 4,344 beds. However, almost all beds at several big private hospitals are shown to be occupied.