The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, on Friday temporarily stopped all routine patient admissions, procedures and non-essential surgeries due to the rise in coronavirus cases, ANI reported.

All specialty clinics in the institute will also be temporarily stopped, a circular stated.

Out patient department services will remain functional, but with restricted registrations that will be limited to those with appointments. Follow-up patients from specialty clinics will also be registered within the follow-up appointment time slots.

A separate circular on Friday stated that the trauma emergency department will be shifted to a different building within the premises on Saturday, according to ThePrint.

During the second wave of coronavirus in April-May as well, AIIMS had taken a similar decision in order to optimise resources and deal with coronavirus patients.

Coronavirus cases have increased steeply in Delhi in the past two weeks, and the rise is believed to have been driven by the Omicron variant. Although hospitalisation numbers have increased, official figures suggest that a large proportion of hospital beds continue to be available.

On January 6, 1,091 out of 12,580 Covid-19 beds (8.67%) in Delhi were occupied, according to the health department’s daily bulletin. A week earlier, on December 31, the figure was 2.52%.

On Thursday, Delhi registered 15,097 new Covid-19 cases, which was the highest single-day rise since May 8. The positivity rate in the Capital also increased to 15.34% from 11.88%.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that the Capital is likely to register around 17,000 Covid-19 cases on Friday, NDTV reported. He, however, said that hospitalisations have not increased at the same rate as new infections.

Hospitals strained globally

In many other parts of the world as well, hospitals have had to take emergency measures to deal with the rise in Covid-19 cases.

In London, 200 armed forces personnel have been deployed to assist hospitals, with many staff members having been infected with the Omicron variant, The Guardian reported.

Out of these, 40 are doctors and will help the National Health Service to look after patients. The others have been tasked with ensuring adequate stocks and “conducting basic checks”.

Many hospitals in the United States are postponing elective surgeries in order to ensure enough beds for coronavirus patients, Reuters reported. The governments of at least three states New York, Illinois and Massachusetts – have either implemented or recommended postponing elective surgeries.