Amid increasing concerns that there are not enough hospital beds available to cope with the growing number of new coronavirus cases, the Delhi government has become the first in the country to requisition its hotels. Tara reports.
From this week, 25 luxury hotels will be repurposed into emergency COVID-19 care centres for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Additionally, in a sign of how overwhelmed medical staff are becoming, hotel employees are also being retrained in case they have to administer some of the care.
Each hotel will be linked with the nearest COVID-19 hospital. However, some hotel employees are anxious about the prospect of transferring their hospitality skills into hospital care.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, has predicted that the capital needs roughly 150,000 beds by the end of July, at which point cases are estimated to rise to half a million. Even if another 15,000 beds can be used in hotels and banquet halls, the city will still be short. However, Kejriwal believes that at least it will relieve the pressure on hospitals by allowing them to focus on serious cases.
Manav Thadani, a hotel industry consultant, has said that no other city in India and no government anywhere in the world had commandeered hotels for this purpose.
Hotels forced to reopen as Covid-19 centres would run up higher utility and salary bills, along with extra costs such as PPE suits.