The Delhi government on Sunday withdrew its order to turn all nursing homes with a capacity of 10 to 49 beds into coronavirus care facilities, just a day after issuing it, PTI reported. The government’s decision came after the Delhi Medical Association wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and expressed concern that other patients would suffer because of the order.
“The competent authority has directed that order by medical superintendent nursing homes to keepers of all nursing homes having bed strength between 10 beds to 49 beds declaring them as Covid nursing homes has been withdrawn with immediate effect,” the Delhi government said in an order issued on Sunday, according to Hindustan Times.
Medical experts argued that the order would put a huge strain on nursing homes, which primarily cater to local neighbourhoods and work with minimum staff strength. They also warned that the move could lead to the spread of infection in areas where the nursing homes are situated.
“Most of these hospitals are non-Covid hospitals located in residential areas,” Dr Naresh Chawla, former president of Delhi Medical Association, told Hindustan Times. “The move could have led to spread of disease in the particular colony where the facility was located, and would have been a big risk factor for community transmission in the long run.”
Doctors running nursing homes, meanwhile, said that their facilities were not equipped to handle coronavirus patients. “I don’t have a physician or an intensive care facility right now,” Dr Anil Sabharwal, who owns a 65-bed facility in Daryaganj, told The Indian Express. “In the Walled City, there are limited facilities, and in the middle of the night if someone requires assistance, they go to the nearest nursing home. Where will they go if there is such an order?”
The Delhi government is racing to ramp up bed capacity as the coronavirus cases in the Capital shoot up. Apart from nursing homes, the government had on Sunday ordered the setting up 11,000 beds in banquets halls and 4,000 in hotels.
At a meeting with the Delhi government on Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the Centre will help Delhi deal with the shortage of beds by providing 500 railway coaches. He had added that the coaches will add 8,000 beds to Delhi’s capacity.
On Sunday, Delhi reported 2,224 new coronavirus cases and 56 deaths. The Capital’s overall count rose to 41,182 and the toll reached 1,327. Delhi has the third-highest number of cases after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.