Trade centre in Chennai converted into a 550-bed COVID-19 quarantine ward

Chennai Corporation plans to set up 40 more COVID-19 camps across the city to collect samples.
Trade centre in Chennai converted into a 550-bed COVID-19 quarantine ward
Trade centre in Chennai converted into a 550-bed COVID-19 quarantine ward
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Rows and rows of white cubicles edged with fluorescent tube lights… These are not office cubicles in a large tech firm but isolation beds at a quarantine facility opened newly in Chennai. A large convention hall in Chennai that has hosted several trade fairs so far has now been converted into a quarantine facility in the city.   

Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) Commissioner G Prakash on Tuesday launched a 550-bed institutional quarantine ward at Nandambakkam Trade Centre Complex in Alandur neighbourhood of the city. Reportedly, the biggest in the country is a facility in Jaisalmer that has 700-bedded capacity.

Image courtesy: PTI

The exhibit hall has been modified into a quarantine ward with isolated cubicles to treat patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. As on April 14, Chennai has 211 COVID-19 cases, the highest in the state. These makeshift cubicles come equipped with steel-framed beds, electrical fittings, a table and a couple of plastic chairs.

Speaking to reporters, Prakash said that at places like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, Anna University and other major government institutions in the city, 10,000-bed facilities will be set up. Those with fever and cough will be isolated at these facilities, he added.

Private facilities like Anna Arivalayam in Teynampet and Raghavendra marriage hall in Kodambakkam, too, will be used to create safe quarantine spaces based on future requirements.

On Tuesday, Health Minister for the state C Vijayabaskar spoke to reporters after inspecting the COVID-19 facility with 200 beds set up at Communicable Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Tondiarpet. “Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Department, along with Chennai Corporation’s Public Health Department, has set up camps in 26 places, where GCC’s doctors, paramedic staff, and healthcare workers will collect samples. They will have adequate protect gears and follow due protocols. We have made plans to increase this to 40 camps by Wednesday,” he said.

Chennai Corporation has made plans to collect 40,000 swab samples, including 10,000 from containment zones, which will be sent to government-approved testing centres. According to reports, 35 walk-in kiosks have been set up for this purpose and the swab samples will be tested using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

According to the website of the Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Department, the state presently has 29,074 isolation beds and 25 testing labs.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the Times of India, a school for juveniles (borstal school) on the prison-1 campus in Puzhal, which has been lying vacant for the past two years, has been converted into a quarantine facility for foreign nationals who were arrested in the state under Foreigners' Act and Epidemic Act for violating the lockdown rules. This block is away from Prison-II where remand prisoners are lodged. 

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