Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday inspected Hotel Suryaa in New Friends Colony, which will be converted into a Covid-19 facility and attached with the nearby Holy Family Hospital to share the coronavirus caseload and to keep more hospital beds free for severe patients amid a spike in the number of cases.
“Several such hotels will be used as extended hospitals. These are tough times. The coronavirus disease is spreading fast. We need to fight it together. This facility will be ready in another 2-3 days with 120 beds. Soon, the capacity will be ramped up to 250-300 beds,” said Kejriwal, who was accompanied to the five-star hotel by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and a group of doctors from Holy Family Hospital.
“Similarly, around 30-35 more hotels in the city will be converted into hospitals. We aim to create around 3,000-3,500 beds in hotels alone. In this augmentation drive, all agencies are working together,” the CM said.
Kejriwal had earlier said Delhi would need 150,000 beds as the number of Covid cases is expected to go up to 550,000 by July 31.
Delhi on Tuesday recorded 1,859 new cases, taking the tally to 44,688. The government’s bulletin recorded new 93 deaths on the day as well.
The chief minister’s visit lasted for 30 minutes – between 12.15 pm and 12.45 pm.
This was the chief minister’s first such inspection and it came a day after the Delhi High Court allowed the government to use two city hotels as extended Covid facilities – Crowne Plaza in Okhla (attached with Batra Hospital) and Hotel Suryaa (with Apollo).
Both hotels had moved the court against the government’s decision, following which the court had appointed a two-member committee to assess all factors and submit a feasibility report. The committee had on Monday said it was possible to use the hotels as Covid care centres for asymptomatic patients or those with mild symptoms.
On Monday, Union home minister Amit Shah had visited Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi’s city’s biggest Covid hospital, and on Sunday, lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal visited the premises of a spiritual organisation in south Delhi’s Chhattarpur where a shed is being converted into a makeshift hospital with 10,000 beds.
“This is the beginning of a series of such inspections,” said an official in the chief minister’s office. In the next two weeks, around 40 hotels and 77 banquet halls, other than several sports complexes, will be converted into hospitals and quarantine centres.
On Tuesday, the Delhi government issued two specific orders directing Hotel Surya and Taj Man Singh to be converted into Covid facilities, attached with hospitals.
A senior government official privy to the augmentation drive said, “Currently, a portion of Hotel Surya that has 90 rooms, including 25 twin bedrooms, will be transformed into a Covid facility, available only to patients with mild symptoms referred by Holy Family Hospital. No direct admissions will be entertained as per protocol. In most cases, patients in the recovery stage will be referred so that hospital beds are available for severe cases.”
An employee in the hotel management who did not wish to be identified said a batch of its 70 employees – ranging from housekeepers, laundry service providers and waiters to chefs, receptionists and managers — will undergo a seven-day training starting Wednesday.