Disclose number of beds reserved for Covid-19 patients: Delhi HC to Centre

Following Delhi government's submission about the reduction in number of Covid beds by the Centre, the court said it will hear the issue on May 13.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to disclose the number of beds available in its hospitals and facilities in the national capital, and also inform it about the steps taken to augment the beds for Covid-19 patients.

The order has been passed by the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli after the Delhi government informed it that the Centre has reduced the number of beds for Covid patients from 4,091 to 3,861.

The Delhi government, last month, told the court that the Centre had made available 4,112 beds in its hospitals and facilities when the pandemic was “much milder” last year, but the number of beds now reserved for Covid patients are less despite the national capital witnessing an unprecedented surge in cases.

On April 20, the Centre informed the court that there are 1,432 Covid beds in central government hospitals and, in addition, 250 have been made available by DRDO, 250 by Lady Hardinge Medical College and 36 by Safdarjung Hospital. The court was also told that 2,105 other beds have also been made available by the Centre in other hospitals and facilities.

However, out of the total 4,091 beds, 1,200 beds included the ones setup at railway stations in Shakur Basti and Anand Vihar, “which could not be considered as full-fledged hospital beds”.

“After noticing that 340 Covid beds had been made available at the Army Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment, and the statement of the Central Government that it is intending to add further beds for Covid patients, we expressed the hope that the Central Government would look into the requirement of Covid beds, and work to enhance the availability of such beds in Central Government Hospitals and facilities,” the court said on Monday.

Following Delhi government’s submission about the reduction in number of Covid beds by the Centre, the court said it will hear the issue on May 13.

“We direct the Central Government to examine the aforesaid aspect, and disclose the number of beds in the Central Government hospitals and facilities, category wise on 13.05.2021. The steps taken to augment the bed facility by the Central Government for COVID patients should also be disclosed,” it said in the order released on Tuesday.

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