Coronavirus triggers shutdown in Calcutta – Telegraph India

Kolkata News
Park Street crossing around 3pm on Monday. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday requested private health-care units not to deny treatment to coronavirus patients and said her government had created a corpus of Rs 200 crore to fight the virus.

But multiple nursing homes in the city said it was difficult for them to create isolation units, a must for treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus or suffering from symptoms of possible infection, because of lack of space.

“Please don’t deny treatment to those who turn up for treatment. I am making this request to private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. You must also ensure that your employees use masks and hand sanitisers,” the chief minister said after chairing a meeting on the coronavirus at Nabanna on Monday.

“You must also give orders for buying the dress (personal protective equipment or PPE dress) that we have already ordered (for doctors and others at government hospitals), so that your employees don’t face any hazard…. If someone tests positive and you think there is a need for referral or the patient has to undergo further tests, you can refer him or her to government hospitals.”

Several private hospitals across the city have created isolation wards for coronavirus patients or those suffering from symptoms of possible infection. But some of the nursing homes said they lacked infrastructure.

“We hardly have space to create isolation units. We are trying to find ways to create such units,” said an official of a nursing home. There is also confusion among private hospitals over collecting swabs and treating people testing positive for the coronavirus.

“We are sending people with symptoms to the Infectious Diseases and Beliaghata General Hospital for collection of swabs,” the CEO of a private hospital off the Bypass said.

A state health department official, however, said private hospitals were authorised to collect swabs and treat patients. “We will organise a training session for doctors and other employees of private hospitals,” he said.

At Monday’s meeting, the the government also decided to create a corpus of Rs 200 crore to boost efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and set up 300 mobile ventilator units.

“We have decided to raise a fund of Rs 200 crore so that there is no shortage of money to fight the coronavirus…. We have decided to buy two lakh PPE dresses so that one does not contract the virus. We have ordered two lakh masks. We have also ordered thermal imaging guns and will create 300 mobile ventilation facilities,” Mamata said.

The state government will provide a medical insurance of Rs 5 lakh for the 10 lakh people working in isolation wards of its hospitals and the conservancy departments of all civic bodies. This will be in addition to the schemes under Swasthya Sathi and other insurance schemes.