Industry chamber CII has urged the Delhi government to reconsider its decision to use select hotels for the purpose of hospitalisation of COVID-19 patients.
In a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CII National Committee on Tourism and Hospitality Advisor Dipak Haksar said the identified hotels are neither designed nor equipped to deal with cases of this nature where ailing patients would need careful supervision in a sanitised environment.
"Most hotels are carpeted and will find it difficult to follow the hospital protocols to sanitise areas as periodical sanitisation is required due to contagious nature of the disease," the letter added.
Moreover, dedicated nursing stations are a must to keep a check on all patients and should be strategically located to cater to patients who require immediate help and should be visible from the nursing station.
"Other important aspects are the right size elevators, hospital beds and supporting broader care like oxygen support in the rooms," it added.
Another concern is that hotels are not designed for direct room exhaust potential to accommodate negative pressure and HEPA filtering. This can further spread the disease to the patients in the other room. To further add to this, garbage disposal system to dispose the garbage related to COVID-19 is currently not available with hotel as it requires professional handling and any error can spread infection in the community, Haksar said in the letter.
Stating that COVID-19 has deeply impacted the Indian tourism and hospitality sector, the letter also said the industry estimates a loss of almost Rs 5 lakh crore and job losses of around 3 crore.
Therefore, the recent guidelines by the Ministry of Home Affairs of allowing the hospitality industry to go for a graded opening is indeed a welcome step.
Haksar asked the Delhi government to also allow the opening of this sector saying, "we are confident that this will act as a catalyst to kick start business activity and the resultant revenue accruals will act as a lifeline in these times of hardship".
"We were therefore taken in by surprise by the administration's notification of requisitioning hotels for purpose of hospitalization of COVID positive cases and as an extension of designated hospitals," he said in the letter.
This decision of the state government has caused deep consternation within the industry and has come as a major blow to the hospitality industry that is already reeling under the pressure of both revenue and job losses, he added.
The purpose of managing and providing critical care to COVID-19 patients will be best served by containing them in specially designed sites including stadiums, exhibition halls where pooled resources can provide the necessary care to meet the requirements of this epidemic, he added.