The Aam Aadmi Party government in the national Capital has directed Hotel Ashok to set aside 100 rooms for a Covid healthcare facility for judges and judicial officers of the Delhi High Court and their families, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. The facility will be linked to Chanakyapuri’s Primus Hospital.

Chanakyapuri Sub Divisional Magistrate Geeta Grover passed an order regarding this on Sunday. “It will take at least till the end of the week for the facility to become operational,” Grover told The Indian Express. “It will be only for judges, HC [high court] staff and their families, as is mentioned in the order.”

The order comes at a time when Delhi is facing an acute shortage of beds, along with oxygen supplies even as coronavirus cases continue to rise. The Delhi High Court had itself made critical observations against the Delhi government and the Centre while hearing a plea on the coronavirus crisis last week.

“Forget common man on the street, even if I were to ask for a bed, it would not be available right now,” Justice Vipin Sanghi had said, while speaking about the situation in Delhi on April 22.

Delhi on Monday recorded 20,201 new coronavirus cases, pushing the overall infection tally in the national Capital to 10,47,916 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The daily positivity rate was 35.02% and 380 new deaths, a record high, were reported. The toll stood at 14,628.

According to the sub divisional magistrate’s order, the hotel staff will be given protective gear and basic training. The hotel will provide all required services, including rooms, housekeeping, disinfection and food, for the patients. The Primus Hospital will collect the charges and pay the hotel.

At ITBP facility, approval of officials made mandatory for beds

Meanwhile, the Delhi government on Monday decided to allocate beds in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s hospital set up in Chattarpur area but said that no walk-in admissions would be allowed, reported NDTV.

“Admission at this centre will be made after approval by district surveillance officers in Delhi,” an official said. “The Delhi government officers decide who needs to be admitted.” Currently, only residents of Delhi are admitted to the facility.

The facility with 500 oxygen-supported beds began functioning on Monday. But only about 120 patients were admitted on the day though thousands of patients are waiting for hospital beds.

As the facility opened on Monday, residents could be seen lined up outside seeking beds but many were denied admission. Some patients and their families raised questions on the rule for admissions. “Is this the time for the administration to engage us in such cumbersome rules,” asked a family member of a Covid-19 patient.

According to the protocols, patients seeking admission need to call the given phone numbers and provide details such as the patient’s name, address, contact number, oxygen level and health condition in a particular format. A Delhi government official will then assess the details and decide the eligibility of the patient for admission.

However, some residents alleged that their calls had gone unanswered. A senior government official told NDTV that the problem was being resolved. “Today was the first day and the process needs to be streamlined about admissions,” the official said.

A Union home ministry official said that patients were allowed walk-in admissions last time the facility was open. “But this time due to the surge, the numbers are very high, so the mechanism has been tweaked and only those who are being referred by the administration are being admitted,” he told NDTV.

The facility was shut down in February when the coronavirus cases count started to decline.

The helpline numbers for the facility are 011-26655547/48/49 and 011-26655949/69.