The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has taken over 69 nursing homes as demands for beds have increased in the city amid a surge in coronavirus cases, reported The Indian Express on Tuesday.

The Mumbai civic body has added 2,269 isolation beds in private hospitals. It is planning to make around 7,000 beds available for coronavirus patients by this weekend, according to NDTV.

Currently, 3,000 beds are lying vacant across Mumbai, including 450 beds in private hospitals. However, private hospitals in the city said they are already reaching a situation where beds are filling up fast, according to NDTV.

Mumbai is currently witnessing a steep rise in coronavirus infections. On Monday, the city recorded 5,888 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 4,04,562. The toll rose to 11,661 with 12 new deaths. The active caseload in Maharashtra’s capital stood at 47,453.

BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said that beds will not be available directly for admissions of patients in private hospitals. “All allotment of hospital beds shall be through 24 ward war rooms only and therefore no one should try to procure positive Covid report directly from testing labs,” Chahal said. “Otherwise, they will find it difficult to get bed anywhere.”

“Ward war rooms” are meant for every ward in the city to allot beds to treat coronavirus patients.

The BMC commissioner also said that private hospitals found directly admitting patients will be penalised.

On Monday, the civic body had directed hospitals and nursing homes not to allot beds to asymptomatic coronavirus patients, so that the beds are available for the “needy”. It had also asked the medical facilities to discharge asymptomatic patients at the earliest to vacate beds for those with more serious symptoms.

An official BMC release said that 80% of the total Covid-19 beds and 100% of the intensive care unit beds at private hospitals should be reserved for “ward war room” allotment.

The civic body has also decided to order 1.5 lakh vials of antiviral drug Remdesivir and other medical equipment to avoid any potential shortage of medicines at hospitals.

Principal Secretary to Maharashtra Health Department, Dr Pradeep Vyas, had predicted on Sunday a “tremendous stress” on the availability of beds, oxygen supply, and ventilators. In a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Health Minister Rajesh Tope and other officials, Vyas had said shortage could arise if cases continue to rise.

According to the BMC commissioner, Mumbai will soon record 10,000 coronavirus cases.