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Delhi: Heat hurdle in using railway coaches, campus of spiritual centre as Covid-19 facilities

At the campus of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas near Bhatti Mines, authorities plan to create at least 100 enclosures of 100 beds each and had explored the option of installing large air coolers.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | June 18, 2020 3:21:13 am
Delhi: Heat hurdle in using railway coaches, campus of spiritual centre as Covid-19 facilities At the Radha Soami Satsang Beas campus near South Delhi’s Bhati Mines area. (Express photo)

With the capital’s soaring heat emerging as an obstacle in using isolation coaches of the Railways for Covid patients, authorities are exploring the possibility of installing a central AC system at the proposed 10,000-bed makeshift facility inside the campus of spiritual organisation in South Delhi.

The temperature in Delhi has remained on the higher side over the last few days, crossing 41 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.

At the campus of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas near Bhatti Mines, authorities plan to create at least 100 enclosures of 100 beds each and had explored the option of installing large air coolers.

South Delhi District Magistrate B M Mishra, who visited the facility in the afternoon for a review meeting, said it will be divided into “20 hospitals” of 500 beds each: “It will be done to manage operations better as sub-teams of doctors, nurses and other staffers can look after blocks assigned to them. Each 500-bed hospital will have 10% beds with oxygenation facilities. To manage the heat, we are exploring the possibility of installing a central air-conditioning system.”

A senior official said the administration is also in touch with the armed forces and paramilitary forces for assistance in terms of healthcare workers and medical equipment.

L-G Anil Baijal had inspected the facility on Sunday, following which he said the feasibility of laying out beds under the tent was being examined.

On Wednesday, The Indian Express found that one enclosure had been created under the tent — 1,700 feet long, 700 feet wide — where spiritual congregations are held. Each bed has a mattress, pillow, an attached stool, a bin, a bottle of water and soap.

“The facility is likely to come up by June 30 and the first set of patients should start streaming in by July 1. We will also provide meals, as suggested by the government, and parking facilities. There are two separate buildings for doctors and staff nurses and over 500 toilets and 450 bathing units in separate buildings,” Vikas Sethi, secretary of the organisation’s Bhatti Mines campus, said.

Under the tent, a patch of vinyl flooring has come up. Authorities plan to cover the entire area similarly to ensure regular mopping and sanitisation.

On June 13, The Indian Express had reported that there will be a need for 800 nurses, paramedics and 400 doctors at the facility, deployed in two shifts.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia inspected the 50 isolation coaches of the Indian Railways stationed at Shakur Basti Railway Station to see if the coaches-turned-isolation centres meet working standards for medical staff.

In view of the shortage of beds in Delhi, these are the first 50, of the 500 railway coaches, provided by the Centre as decided in a meeting led by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

“We have been provided 50 coaches with 800 beds so far. I had gone to inspect these coaches, to check on the arrangements and if we can start sending in patients. But the soaring temperatures and the heat will make it problematic for our medical staff to operate while wearing PPE kits. It will be a problem for patients as well. We are trying our best to improve the infrastructure and to come up with a solution to this, so that we can begin deploying staff and admitting patients at these isolation centres,” Sisodia told reporters.

The Delhi government has so far identified 77 banquet halls with a capacity of 11,229 beds, 40 budget hotels with a combined capacity of 4,628 beds, and five four- and five-star category hotels.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Sisodia had visited one such hotel, The Suryaa in New Friends Colony, where 120 beds are being arranged in 90 rooms. The hotel has been attached with the Holy Family Hospital.

As per the Delhi government’s estimates, the capital could see 5.5 lakh cases by the end of July and will need at least 80,000 beds. Kejriwal had said if people from other states also seek treatment in Delhi, 1.5 lakh beds will be needed by the end of July.

So far, the city has 10,805 beds in hospitals and over 600 ventilators. The number of beds in hospitals as well as Covid care centres for those with mild symptoms are expected to go up significantly by next week.

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