With Mumbai recording 5,888 new Covid cases on Monday, BMC has directed all private hospitals and nursing homes to reserve 80% of hospital beds and all ICU beds vacant for Covid-19 patients. No admission by private hospitals will be allowed without BMC’s approval. The move comes after recording a surge in Covid-19 cases which has led to a scarcity of beds once again in the city.
Mumbai has crossed the 4 lakh mark with active cases crossing 46,000. Indicating the gravity of the situation, BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal in a meeting with the Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday, said Mumbai is likely to touch 10,000 cases a day in the next few days.
In another attempt to free up space for critical Covid-19 patients, the BMC has decided to discharge asymptomatic patients with no comorbidities. “It is instructed to urgently discharge any asymptomatic Covid positive patients,” read a statement issued by BMC to all the hospitals on Monday.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said that observing the sharp rise in daily cases, at least 20,000 isolation beds will be required in the city. Currently, there are over 15,000 beds in Mumbai. He added, “We have directed jumbo centres to operationalise all their wards. Until now, half the jumbo centres were unused.”
In an attempt to increase the capacity, the civic body has converted 69 nursing homes into Covid centres to add 2000 beds and 400 ICUs to its tally. This move has reduced capacity for critical non-Covid patients which has raised concerns.
Mumbai to experience shortage of beds
BMC has revealed data which shows that vacancy of beds has dipped from 49 per cent 10 days ago to 26 per cent. There are 4,057 beds available in dedicated Covid hospitals, Covid care centres and dedicated Covid health centres. However, in the last 10 days, Covid-19 patients’ admission in hospitals grew from 6,816 to 11,537. At that rate, the BMC predicts that Mumbai may face shortages of beds in a week’s time.
Uddhav Thackeray threatens lockdown yet again
What seems to be the only solution at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s disposal, he has directed the administration to draw up a roadmap for a second lockdown. The move has been severely opposed by his own alliance party, NCP and BJP too have threatened a public protest if another lockdown is imposed in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena government has yet again given a new date to release a solid plan to tackle the surge in Covid-19 cases as they continue to monitor and review the situation. While there is no consensus among leaders in Shiv Sena, CM has ordered the public health officials to keep a Standard Operating Procedure handy in case another lockdown becomes imperative.
Dr. Shashank Joshi who was a part of the meeting between CM and health officials said, “Lockdown is the last resort, but we have to consider it as the healthcare infrastructure is crumbling.”
The MVA government has been receiving backlash since the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic for its failure to bring the situation under control. In June last year, the government had asked hospitals to use oxygen cylinders to provide immediate relief to critical Covid-19 patients as the state was witnessing a shortage of ventilators.
For now, the MVA government is trying to curb the rise in Covid-19 cases by imposing night curfew and conducting random checks at malls, multiplexes and restaurants.