Foreseeing a “surge” in Covid-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry has said a “large number of temporary make-shift hospitals will have to be created” to deal with this “in near future”.
“The number of cases of Covid-19 are constantly increasing and at some point of time in near future, apart from existing hospitals, large number of temporary make-shift hospitals will have to be created in order to accommodate Covid-19 patients requiring admission, medical care and treatment,” the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.
It added that “to successfully create optimum infrastructure to provide best medical care to the Covid patients, the Central government will also have to adequately address the human resources issue for this envisaged surge capacity scenario. Hence, conserving health care work force is the need of the hour…”
The Centre was replying to a petition by Dr Arushi Jain who wanted the court to direct the government to take over vacant hotels, guesthouses etc and use them as quarantine facilities for frontline medical workers.
The government said the situation is unprecedented and there was no universally accepted protocol for treating Covid-19.
Stating that the situation was “fluid”, it said the guidelines for management are continuously evolved, refined and fine-tuned. They are made by the experts and cannot be altered “based on the individual perception of some medical professionals which in certain cases, if not in the present case, can be based on either their individual experience or on extraneous considerations”.
It also went into various advisories issued by the Centre to states and Union Territories for setting up quarantine facilities and ensuring safety of healthcare workers.
The government also said that while the Hospital Infection Control Committee in the health facility is responsible for Implementing the Infection Prevention and Control activities and for organising regular trainings for healthcare workers (HCW), “the final responsibility lies with the HCW to prevent infection and to protect himself/herself. This is true not only for COVID but for number of other infectious diseases to which a HCW has potential to get exposed as part of his/her duty”.
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