The Karnataka government has issued an order seeking 50% reservation of beds in private hospitals for government-referred COVID-19 patients. The same instruction had been given to hospitals last year in June during the pandemic as well. The order has been issued by Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar, and cited an order from June 2020 and said that it will be in effect until fresh orders are issued.
The order stated that 50% beds in private hospitals will be reserved for government-referred COVID-19 patients and rates to be charged will be regulated. This reservation was withdrawn in November 2020 after the decline in COVID-19 cases but it was invoked once again in view of the rising cases in Bengaluru.
As per the data compiled by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bengaluru recorded 31,886 cases for the month of March compared to 6,813 cases in February. The city reported 4,128 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.
The Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA) welcomed the state government's decision and sought one week's time to iplement the order since hospitals currently have non-COVID-19 patients.
There are 571 beds currently available in hospitals and government-run COVID-Care Centres opened in Bengaluru while 1,729 beds are occupied. Of these, 145 beds are available in 14 government hospitals in Bengaluru Urban district; and 201 beds are available in HAL and Haj Bhavan, where two COVID-Care Centres are being managed by the government, as per the BBMP's COVID-19 bed status compilation.
Health experts warned that Bengaluru is predicted to report 6,500 daily cases by April 20. "Even if 10% of them require hospitalisation, the health system will run out of capacity in a few days. We need action now, not tomorrow,” Dr Giridhara Babu, a senior epidemiologist said in a tweet.
The BBMP is planning to expand the vaccination drive in the city to include workspaces and possibly even apartments.