Karnataka to set up makeshift hospitals to tide over COVID demand

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Bengaluru, Apr 24 (PTI) Amid explosion of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, the state government has decided to set up makeshift hospitals with ICU and ventilator here and elsewhere in a fortnight and ordered the private facilities to reserve 80 per cent of the beds for coronavirus patients.

Addressing reporters here on Saturday, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, 'Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa took an important decision on Friday to set up 2,000-bed makeshift ICU with ventilators within the campus of the tertiary care hospitals in Bengaluru.' Besides, makeshift hospitals with modular ICU with a capacity of about 250 beds will be established in Mysuru, Hubballi, Bidar, Belagavi and Shivamogga.

'We have decided to set up these hospitals in a fortnight. You all know that we may have to import various equipment including ventilators..,' the Minister said.

According to him, a decision has been taken to increase the number of government beds for COVID from the existing 50 per cent to 80 per cent.

'Most probably, the order will be issued by the end of the day,' Sudhakar said.

On the current wave of COVID, he said the trends have baffled the medical world and the rising coronavirus cases in India shows that a new variant has emerged in the country.

'Other countries too faced the second wave, but the one in India is neither the UK, Brazil nor any other variant.

In fact, the foreign countries are calling it the second wave of Indian strain and are doing genomic sequencing.' Last year the demand for oxygen was not so high, but now people are suddenly complaining about breathing problems and demanding the life-saving gas.

'Last time when our cases were at the peak, we used only 300 to 350 tonnes of oxygen. This time we have already utilised 500 tonnes of oxygen.

You can understand if this goes up, how the oxygen can become deficient,' he added.

He recalled Yediyurappa asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to supply around 1,500 tonnes of oxygen for the next month. PTI GMS ROH ROH