Bed availability for COVID patients in Punjab is comfortable: CM

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Chandigarh, Apr 22 (PTI) Amid reports of a shortage of beds in healthcare facilities in some parts of the country, the Punjab government on Thursday said the situation in the state with respect to availability of beds for COVID-19 patients is comfortable.

It also said a helpline number will provide real-time information with respect to availability of beds in the hospitals.

Chairing a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed concern at the reports about shortage of beds for coronavirus patients in various parts of the country.

He said the situation is comparatively comfortable in Punjab with respect to availability of beds in both government and private hospitals.

Singh asked the health department to ensure that 75 per cent beds were reserved in the level-2 and level-3 facilities for COVID care.

A complete ban has been imposed on elective surgeries so that the hospitals can focus on the treatment of COVID patients, he said.

The chief minister appreciated the Western Command for its efforts to dedicate more beds and manpower for COVID care in the state's military hospitals.

He said the restrictions have led to a stabilisation of the overall situation.

Singh said the CFR (case fatality rate) has already declined from 1.75 per cent to 1.4 per cent in Punjab.

However, there could be no room for complacency, he said, adding that the state must remain prepared to face any contingency, according to an official statement.

Singh asked the police department to ensure a strict enforcement of the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

He expressed satisfaction over the increased daily number of tests and sampling, which has now crossed the 50,000-mark.

Referring to the availability of oxygen in the state, the chief minister said he has already written to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, seeking his personal intervention for an uninterrupted supply of oxygen to the state.

He said 136 metric tonnes, including 32-MT production in Punjab, has been allocated to enable the state to overcome the crisis.

The veteran Congress leader underscored the need to ensure proper use of oxygen and prevent hoarding.

Earlier, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan informed the chief minister that the industries department has formed special teams to monitor supply and demand at the refilling units to ensure that no oxygen is diverted to the non-COVID care facilities.

Specific teams would also coordinate the supply of liquid oxygen to Punjab from the designated suppliers in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Ordering a crackdown on oxygen hoarding in the state, Singh categorically stated that no trader or manufacturer would be allowed to indulge in illegal hoarding of liquid medical oxygen and anybody found wanting would be dealt with sternly. PTI CHS VSD RC