DRDO Sets Up Covid-19 Hospitals in 4 States as Second Wave Batters India

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With overwhelmed hospitals and ventilators running out across India, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in the process of setting up and reactivating Covid-19 hospitals in four cities- Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, and Patna.

In Delhi, the DRDO is in the process of setting up a 500-bed Covid-19 facility to ease the pressure on the national capital's healthcare facilities. All the beds will have oxygen support and 250 will be ready for use by Monday. The facility is coming at the same location near the Delhi airport where it had set up a 1000-bed facility last year. That makeshift hospital was folded up this February as the number of cases had dipped. The facility will be staffed and monitored by the DG, the Armed Forces Medical Services and treatment will be free but an RT-PCR report and Aadhar card will be mandatory.

Meanwhile, in Lucknow, two similar hospitals with a combined strength of 1000 beds will be set up at the Haj House on Kanpur Road and Golden Blossom Resort on Faizabad Road. These hospitals will include 250-350 ICU beds and both should be operational in the next few days.

Not just hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen, and space in crematoriums and graveyards have also run out in the City of Nawabs. It has more than 40,000 active Covid cases including the state's chief minister Yogi Adityanath who tested positive earlier this week.

The other state capital where the DRDO is pitching in with COVID duty is Ahmedabad. Here, a 900-bed hospital is being set up. As many as 25 doctors and 75 paramedics from the paramilitary forces have been deployed at this hospital.

Due to the rising number of infections, the Bihar government also requested DRDO for medical help. The principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit has requested the defence secretary to send 50 doctors from the Armed Forces Medical Corps (AFMC) to reactivate the ESI hospital into a full-fledged 500-bed COVID facility.

More requests from other states are pouring in from across India says DR NK Arya the PRO of the DRDO. The Rajya Sabha MP from Ghaziabad Dr Anil Agarwal has written to the Defense Minister requesting for a temporary DRDO Covid-19 hospital in the district. Dr Arya says setting up hospitals is not part of the DRDO’s regular duty, its job is to develop cutting-edge technology for India’s armed forces and keep it battle-ready. But this is perhaps the biggest war the country is fighting. We have to do our bit” Arya said.

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