The Maharashtra government has sought 50 specialist doctors and 100 nurses from Kerala as its coronavirus cases continue to increase and even private hospitals are at risk of being overrun in the state, The Indian Express reported on Monday.

Kerala, which recorded India’s first three coronavirus cases, has been successful in flattening the curve of new infections. The southern state has reported 847 cases, of which 521 patients were discharged after receiving treatment. Only four deaths have been recorded so far. Meanwhile, Maharashtra has over 50,000 coronavirus cases – the highest in India. Mumbai has contributed to almost 61% of Maharashtra’s cases and 60% of its fatalities.

Dr TP Lahane, Maharashtra’s director of medical education and research, wrote to Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on May 23 to requesting 50 specialist doctors and 100 nurses. “Currently, doctors and paramedical staff are working at their fullest capacity,” Lahane said. “The government has also made available the services of private medical practitioners in the city. However, we require in addition, more doctors for the management of Covid-19 patients in these two cities [Mumbai and Pune].”

The letter also said that the state government will pay Rs 80,000 per month for MBBS doctors, Rs 2 lakh per month for MD or MS specialists and Rs 30,000 per month for trained nursing staff. “The state government will also provide accommodation and meals for the doctors and nurses,” Lahane said. “It will be the responsibility of the state government to provide medicine and personal protective equipment to them.”

A 600-bed coronavirus care centre is being set up at Mumbai’s Mahalakshmi Race Course, the letter stated.

Lahane said the Maharashtra government has also made a similar request to the South Asia division of Doctors Without Borders, who have assured additional manpower.

However, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government denied any shortage of both doctors and nurses in coronavirus-designated hospitals in Maharashtra, The Times of India reported. Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, secretary of medical education department, said the state was only preparing to handle the surge of cases. “We have 30% of India’s registered doctors, but the idea is to have the next defence ready,” he added.

Last week, the state government had announced that it will take over 80% of the beds in private hospitals and nursing homes across the state for the treatment of coronavirus patients. Several hospitals in Mumbai such as Nanavati, Lilavati, Breach Candy, and Fortis have their ICU beds fully occupied as the city is on the verge of an unprecedented health crisis. 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.

India on Monday reported 6,977 new coronavirus infections, the country’s biggest one-day increase.

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