Canteens, training centres turn into COVID care centres

Droom’s office at Sector 15 in Gurugram that is now a quarantine centre. Photo: Special Arrangement  

A dire need for hospital beds is seeing organisations repurpose their ‘unused’ office space into COVID care centres, offered not only to employees.

Tech Mahindra’s cafeteria at its Noida campus is now a 40-bed COVID facility. In Bengaluru, Bosch Limited has converted its Sport Complex on its Adugodi campus into a 70-bed COVID Care Centre and handed it over to the local-body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. HDFC Bank has converted three of its training centres at Bhubaneswar, Pune and Gurugram into isolation facilities.

(Last year, following an MoU with the Government of Maharashatra, Wipro repurposed one of its information technology campuses in Hinjewadi, Pune into a 450-bed intermediary care COVID-19 hospital for treating moderate cases.)

These ‘hospitals’ offer first-line assistance, through nurses and visiting doctors, posted round-the-clock. If required, they coordinate medical help from a nearby hospital.

Droom’s Gurugram office at Sector 15 is an emergency response centre with a telemedicine set-up, oxygen and nurses.

“Spread across two floors, our office space was not opened up for employees in the last one year except for the admin staff when there is need to do so. So, we have converted the first floor into a quarantine facility. The office furniture and other paraphernalia were moved out to place beds. A meeting room now accommodates two beds and we have created three to four such spaces,” says a representative from Droom, an online marketplace for automobiles. They plan to extend this set-up to the second floor.

With the expertise of hospital chains, Tech Mahindra is planning to convert some of its other facilities into extended medical care facilities. The ‘conversion’ of the cafeteria at its Noida office was effected with Fortis’ help.

An appeal

Recently, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs made an appeal to companies:

“In view of the ongoing WFH mode of working, you may have some vacant buildings at your disposal. You may like to consider converting these vacant office buildings into temporary COVID care facilities with either isolation beds or a combination of isolation and oxygen beds to cater to rapidly increasing COVID caseload in many parts of the country, some of which may lie in your vicinity,” read a note by Rajesh Verma, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Companies were also encouraged to use their CSR funds to establish makeshift hospitals and temporary COVID care facilities.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 6:49:30 AM |

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