The Union health ministry on Saturday said that a positive coronavirus report will no longer be needed for hospitals to admit Covid-19 patients.

A patient suspected of having contracted the infection shall be admitted to the suspect ward of a Covid-19 care center, dedicated Covid-19 health centre or dedicated Covid-19 hospital, the ministry said in a statement. “No patient will be refused services on any count,” it added. “This includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city.”

The ministry added that patients should not be refused admission even if they do not have a valid identity card for the city where the hospital is located. “Admissions to hospital must be based on need,” it said. “It should be ensured that beds are not occupied by persons who do not need hospitalisation.”

The ministry said that the revised measures were aimed at ensuring effective and comprehensive treatment of coronavirus patients. It also asked chief secretaries of states and Union Territories to issue necessary orders and circulars and asked them to implement the new rules within the next three days.

Meanwhile, India on Saturday recorded 4,187 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest ever since the pandemic broke out last year, as a fierce second wave continued to overwhelm the country’s hospitals. With this, the toll rose to 2,38,270, data from the health ministry showed.

The country recorded 4,01,078 new cases in 24 hours, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,18,92,676. This is the fourth time since May 1 when the count rose by more than 4 lakh.