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Coroanvirus | Bengal government ropes in private hospitals to fight COVID-19

Passengers wear masks to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic as they leave from NSCBI Airport in Kolkata on March 19.

Passengers wear masks to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic as they leave from NSCBI Airport in Kolkata on March 19.   | Photo Credit: PTI

‘It is not a time to do business and not follow rules. It is a time to help each other,’ says Mamata

Observing that the next few weeks were going to be crucial, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday roped in private hospitals to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Chief Minister held a meeting with representatives of private hospitals as well as State-run facilities, and said that they should be prepared to admit patients with COVID-19 infections.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

“It is not a time to do business and not follow rules. It is a time to help each other,” Ms. Banerjeee said during a meeting at the State Secretariat.

Currently, only one coronavirus infection has been reported in the West Bengal.

More beds

While the Chief Minister applauded the work of the State’s primary referral hospital, the Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General Hospital (ID&BGH), she said it was necessary to reduce the pressure on the facility. Over the past few days, patients who have arrived from abroad have queued up at the ID&BGH, causing a lot of rush there.

Coronavirus | State Helpline numbers for COVID-19

“There are 22 beds there. We will have to increase it to 100. At the Bangur Hospital, there is a new building. 150 beds can be arranged there. But the entrance of the hospital should not be same as the main hospital,” the CM said.

The Chief Minister also advised that another 50 beds be provided at a building at the R. G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, which is serving as night shelter. She assured those present at the meeting that the State government has made necessary arrangements.

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“We have ordered 300 ventilator machines, of which 70 have been delivered. We have ordered 2 lakh masks, and 30 thousand gloves have been ordered,” she said.

Shortage of gear

During the meeting, several representatives of private health facilities, including some from government bodies, complained about the shortage of protective gear. Ms. Banerjee said the State’s Chief Secretary had assured protective gear would be delivered.

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“We have started a ₹200 crore fund. Let it be set up as a fund where private sector [entities] who want to help can help share the cost to solve the problem. If the corporate sector can sponsor equipment, it will help humanity,” she added.

When the issue of demand for masks was brought up, the CM said that people could not be denied: “Please give mask to whoever wants. Let’s not do this [deny masks]. Give them masks. Order 4 lakh more if required.”

Ms. Banerjee added that essential supplies should not be hoarded, and assured that markets and other essential services would continue functioning in the coming days.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 9:23:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coroanvirus-bengal-government-ropes-in-private-hospitals-to-fight-covid-19/article31113449.ece

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