ITBP-run COVID-19 care centre awaits MHA order to restart

Workers at the Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital, as coronavirus cases surge in New Delhi, Sunday, April 18, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

As hospitals in Delhi and its neighbouring districts are swamped by COVID-19 patients in need of oxygen beds, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is yet to issue orders to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to restart one of the largest COVID-19 care centres in south Delhi that was discontinued in February.

The 10,000-bed Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre and Hospital (SPCCCH) was operationalised on July 7, 2020. ITBP, the Central police force under the MHA, was tasked with running the centre. It was discontinued on February 23 due to dwindling number of patients.

On Sunday, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted that he reviewed the arrangements at SPCCCH that would add over 5,000 beds for COVID-19 patients. “Our teams are working hard to ensure at least 500 beds to be operational by Tuesday.”

A Delhi government official said that SPCCCH would be run by the ITBP. However, a senior ITBP official said they were yet to receive any orders from the MHA, without which they could not proceed.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who monitored the arrangement at the centre last year, was in West Bengal on Monday where he attended four election rallies. Delhi government is under administrative control of the MHA through the office of the Lieutenant Governor.

The ITBP official said that the force would require at least a week to arrange doctors and other human resource.

“It is a multi-agency centre, at least 14 agencies are involved, including the Delhi government. We will have to pull doctors from our hospitals in other parts of the country and request other Central forces also. They will have to be tested, quarantined and only then can they be put on duty. It is a time consuming exercise,” the official said. There are over 4,000 doctors in all the paramilitary forces combined, and around 1,000 would have to deployed at the centre on rotation.

The centre treated around 12,000 patients in its first stint, but most with mild symptoms. At any point, not more than 1800 patients were occupying the beds.

“This time, many people require oxygen support, so the beds will have to be adjusted accordingly. We anticipate at least 10% such beds. Trained nursing staff is also required. Other than this, air conditioners and portable cylinders will have to be fixed. Sanitation, food, water... all this requires time to set up,” the official said.

Ankita Chakravarthy, district magistrate, south, did not respond to calls or text message from The Hindu.

According to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, an estimated 23,500 new COVID-19 cases had surfaced in Delhi over the last 24 hours.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 6:20:52 AM |

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