The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has authorised assistant commissioners at the ward level to take possession of private hospitals and nursing homes under their jurisdiction to tackle the rising coronavirus cases in Mumbai, has learnt. In an order dated May 3, civic body chief Praveen Pardeshi delegated the powers under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Among all the Indian cities, Mumbai has the highest number of coronavirus cases at over 9,940. The civic authority said the hospitals and nursing homes will be run by the owners and they can charge Rs 3,000 for the general ward, Rs 3,700 for the high dependency unit, Rs 5,100 for the intensive care unit without ventilator and Rs 6,500 for ICU with ventilator/dialysis. In addition to this, they are also permitted to take medicine, pathology and radiology charges from the coronavirus patients.

The civic authority will decide about providing compensation to these designated hospitals and nursing homes, if needed, after three months. “In spite of the all out efforts taken by the entire MGCM machinery the COVID-19 positive cases in Mumbai are rising at a rapid rate,” the order said, adding that ward commissioners are struggling to arrange hospital facilities for the patients.

A ward officer told The Times of India that the order will be beneficial as they can arrange beds locally in an emergency instead of waiting for directions from the central control room to process requests.

The order comes at a time when infections are rising everyday and the city is on the verge of an unprecedented health crisis, The Economic Times reported. There is a shortage of 400 doctors and ICU facilities of almost all hospitals is now getting exhausted. had reported last month that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is expecting a tremendous surge of the coronavirus cases by the end of May and asked hospitals to create facilities for 70,000 beds.

A 45-year-old woman from Govandi could not be shifted for three days despite being symptomatic. Meanwhile, a 63-year-old woman spent a whole night near her building due to shortage of beds. She was later taken to Seven Hills Hospitals in Andheri.

Currently, 150 Covid-19 patients are critical in Mumbai out of the 9,945 cases. Hospitals such as Nanavati, Lilavati, Breach Candy, and Fortis told the Times of India that all their ICU beds are currently occupied.

In a separate development, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation on Tuesday issued a clarification after a fake notification started circulating on social media stating that everyday travel to the city will be restricted after Thursday, The Hindu reported. “The message being circulated is false and no such containment orders have been passed,” Municipal Commissioner Annasaheb Misal said. “We are looking into the source from where this was created and no police case has been registered as of now.”