New Delhi: The hotelier Kapil Chopra, who also runs the NGO Charity Beds, which provides hospital beds for the poor, regularly publishes personally verified notices of hospital beds in the city. But he insists on taking the right action Government of Delhi to fight the coronavirus, attach Hotels to Hospitals wasn’t one of them.
Chopra dismissed it as a “diversionary tactic,” pointing out that a hotel room might at best be a quarantine amenity rather than an intensive care unit requiring the presence of doctors and nurses. “Of the hotel rooms that have been advertised turning into hospital beds, not many have actually become functional,” he said. “The focus should be on increasing the number of ICU and oxygen beds across the city and ensuring that they can be used by patients when needed.”
To cope with the unstoppable rise in Covid cases, the Delhi government had announced that it would convert some hotels and banquet halls into Covid facilities connected to a hospital. Last year there were hardly any patients in these hotels, this year there were a few patients. For example, the Crowne Plaza Okhla, which is connected to the Apollo Indraprastha Hospitals, cared for around 130 patients. These patients were primarily stable Covid-positive people with controlled or zero comorbidities and with minimal oxygen requirements.
Max Hospitals, which oversaw the facility in the Svelte Hotels, treated 135 patients there. Shilpa Gopalka, GM, Max Multi-Specialty Center, Panchsheel Park, stated that patients were referred to the hotel after screening and based on the patient’s condition. A resident doctor and a nursing team were present to monitor the patients, while a senior physician visited every day. From the middle of May, no more patients stayed in Svelte.
From Taj Vivanta, Dwarka, which hosted 60 patients from Venkateshwara Hospital, to ITC’s WelcomHotel Dwarka, which had some patients from Manipal Hospital, they had Covid patients with mild symptoms. Nishant Negi, GM, WelcomHotel Dwarka, said people had contacted the hotel about oxygen or intensive care beds, they could only accept people referred from the affiliated hospital. The hotel has had no patients in the past few days and its website lists all 60 beds available.
With most of the Covid-designated rooms unoccupied, hotels suffered losses, said Greesh Bindra, VP (Operations) of The Suryaa, who attached 200 rooms to the nearby Holy Family Hospital. He also said that there have been no patient admissions in most hotels in the past two weeks and that, as Covid facilities, they do not bear any costs.
A hotel sales manager claimed that the decision to append Hotels with hospitals affected employees. Much of the staff was given unpaid leave. Your colleagues in other hotels, on the other hand, still had some operations or services such as home delivery, long-term guests or the accommodation of large crews.
Chopra said many Delhians who contract Covid and recover are hoping that most of them would have antibodies to protect them from infection for at least the next few months. These months, Chopra suggested, should be used to speed up vaccination exercises, operationalize all planned hospital beds, and enforce strict masking and social distancing rules.