Give more beds in central hospitals: HC

a group of people preparing food in a kitchen: Roli Khare, the director of hospitals, ministry of health and family welfare, told the court that the Centre was trying a makeshift arrangement where beds could be increased. (Ajay Aggarwal / HT Photo for representation) © Provided by Hindustan Times Roli Khare, the director of hospitals, ministry of health and family welfare, told the court that the Centre was trying a makeshift arrangement where beds could be increased. (Ajay Aggarwal / HT Photo for representation)

The Delhi high court on Tuesday asked the Centre to immediately allocate more beds in their hospitals in the city for the Covid-19 patients after the Delhi government said that it was not being given enough beds by the Union government despite a massive surge in the cases and fatalities.

A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli agreed to the submission of senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, that the cases in the current wave were far more than any other phase of the pandemic. Delhi reported 28,395 fresh cases of the infection on Tuesday at a positivity rate of 32.82%. As many as 277 people died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

“We direct the Centre to look into this aspect seriously. Considering the fact that the number of Covid patients, is far greater than the number that had come last year, the Centre should immediately allocate more beds from their hospitals for Covid patients,” the court said in its order.

The directions were passed in a plea by advocate Rakesh Malhotra, petitioner-lawyer, who had sought ramping up of tests in the city.

The petition, which was disposed of, was again revived by the HC on Monday, noting that the virus has raised its “ugly head” once again and that the “healthcare infrastructure is at the stage of imminent collapse”.

According to Mehra, the Centre had given only 2,000 beds as compared to 4,000 in November, when the cases were one-third of the current tally now. He said that in the wake of shortage of beds in the city, 8,000 beds be allocated to the Delhi government, even if for a week, to meet the crisis situation.

“We are asking it for just for one week. Please ask the central government hospitals to give 8,000 beds. We don’t want it forever; we only need it for some time. The Centre has the capacity of 11,500 in all its hospitals..,” Mehra said.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma told the court that the Centre is taking every possible step to provide assistance to the Delhi government. He said that 250 ICU beds have been operationalised by DRDO and another 250 beds shall be operationalised by Thursday.

“lt has been further decided to provide 25 medical officers and 75 paramedics to the centre set up by DRDO from Central armed paramilitary forces,” he said, adding that there are facilities like the Radha Soami Satsang Beas which has given its land in Chhatarpur for a Covid care centre; and the Railways which have also made beds operational in train coaches.

Roli Khare, the director of hospitals, ministry of health and family welfare, told the court that the Centre was trying a makeshift arrangement where beds could be increased. But, they can only be increased up to a certain limit as it has to be done keeping in view the demand for trained staff to manage the beds.

She said that till now 2,105 beds are currently available to Delhi in central hospitals, including AIIMS, and that by Tuesday, they will be increased 4,091.

The bench also said that immediate action needs to be taken by the Centre to ramp up testing by simplifying the process. It said the current practice of mandatory filling a form despite the Aadhaar card of the individual being provided, is a waste of time and should be done away with.

It also said that the officers should be sensitised and there should be urgency in completing work and giving clearances for setting up of new lab equipment.

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Give more beds in central hospitals: HC