NEW DELHI: Chaos prevailed outside the Sardar Vallabbhai Patel COVID Care Centre (SPCCC) here as a huge crowd of desperate patients and their attendants gathered at the facility for getting admission even before it began operating this morning.
Located at the Radha Soami Beas campus in Chhattarpur area of south Delhi, the facility has been opened in view of Delhi registering a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, a shortage of oxygen beds and its healthcare system getting overwhelmed.
South Delhi district officials said people had gathered there even before the facility officially opened at 10 am in the hope of getting admission there.
Officials said that many patients and other people who had gathered outside had not registered themselves for the mandatory pre-admission assessment, hence they could not be allowed in.
The admission process requires a patient or his/her attendants to furnish details on the centre’s helpline numbers.
The details of the patients will be assessed before admission on the reference of district surveillance officers.
“Within minutes of the word go, the helpline numbers were inundated with calls, some of them from far off places like Agra and NCR towns,” a senior officer said.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited the centre, later told a press briefing that there were 150 beds that will be increased to 500 in the next two-three days, then to 2,000 and finally to 5,000 beds.
“We are also creating a 200 ICU-bed facility at the Centre,” he said, thanking the Central government for its help.
The city is facing an acute shortage of oxygen beds for serious COVID-19 patients and has almost run out of ICU facilities amid soaring numbers of infections.
The centre has been provided with doctors and medical staff of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
Describing the scene at the facility, a district official said, “It was a tragic and hopeless situation as so many people genuinely requiring admissions and treatment could not be accommodated as there were only 150 beds only.”
However, due to numerous calls pouring in, the helpline numbers were constantly busy and many even could not get connected to furnish their details for registration, officials said.
The ITBP, designated by the Union Home Ministry as the nodal agency to run the facility, has said there would be no walk-in admissions to the centre.
Admission at the centre will be made after approval by district surveillance officers in Delhi.
“The SPCCC has started functioning on Monday. About 25 patients arrived till about 11 am and more are expected,” ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said.
Videos and photos provided by the force showed ambulances bringing in patients and they being admitted after preliminary checkup conducted by ITBP doctors and paramedical staff under a tented canopy in the porch.
The helpline numbers of SPCCC are: 011-26655547/48/49 and 011-26655949/69.
A team of 50 ITBP and other organisations’ doctors, about 80 paramedics and nursing staff, security personnel and other administrative staff have been tasked to run the centre.