Won't stop patients coming to Punjab from outside for treatment: Amarinder

·3-min read

Chandigarh, Apr 30 (PTI) Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Friday that he was not in favour of refusing hospital care to any patient coming to Punjab from other states for treatment amid surge in coronavirus cases.

The comments came even as Health Minister Balbir Sidhu expressed concern over people of Punjab 'not getting space' due to patients coming from outside.

'We must not refuse any patient who needs hospital care,' Amarinder Singh said. 'We will never close our doors to any patient.' The chief minister said he was not in favour of refusing hospital care to any patient from Delhi, Haryana or any other state despite the criticality of oxygen supplies.

The patients coming from other states are 'our people as India is one country', he said. 'They are welcome to come and we will look after them as our own.' As per estimates, one-fourth of the beds in Punjab are currently occupied by patients from outside the state. The chief minister was informed in a virtual COVID emergency review meeting of six worst-hit districts in the state, according to a official statement.

Amarinder Singh warned of strict action against black marketing, hoarding or profiteering of oxygen cylinders or smuggling out it of Punjab, especially when oxygen allocation of the state was itself 'not being met'.

Urging all private hospitals to increase beds, he assured that these would be supplied adequate oxygen and no punitive action would be taken in case of any mishap due to lack of oxygen allocation.

He said the state government had taken up with the Centre the issue of allotment of tankers for transportation to enable Punjab to avail its oxygen allocation from the eastern region.

Against the demand of 250 metric tonnes, the state is getting 165 MT of liquid medical oxygen per day.

The chief minister directed the industries and health departments to work out a supply plan to ensure that all districts had enough oxygen and there was no loss of life.

He directed the deputy commissioners to ensure that oxygen cylinders were collected and refilled in time.

Every bit of oxygen has to be utilised for medical purposes, Amarinder Singh said, adding that all district officers must keep a close watch on the situation.

On the shortage of oxygen cylinders, the chief minister said while the Health Department had begun procurement, only 1,000 were likely to be supplied in May.

He asked district officers to work aggressively on a mechanism of borrowing cylinders from industry wherever they were available.

He said the state was getting approximately 200 more oxygen concentrators shortly.

'We have requested GOI (Government of India) to allot 3,500 out of 1 lakh (cylinders) being imported,' he said, calling for all-out effort for optimal utilisation of oxygen and regular audits.

Some small amounts of remdesivir and tocilizumab have now become available, he said, expressing the hope that the Centre would respond to requests to enhance the allocation.

Punjab had reported 138 more deaths and 6,812 fresh cases on Thursday. PTI VSD SUN HMB