CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government will cap the Covid hospitalisation and treatment rates of private hospitals and those not adhering to these rates will be shut down, chief minister Amarinder Singh said on Saturday.
The fee structure for private hospitals and clinics is expected to be finalised by Monday, the chief minister said during his #AskCaptain session on Facebook.
Taking view of complaints of exorbitant fees being charged by private hospitals, he termed such actions as ‘anti-people and anti-national’ and warned that the private institutions would not be allowed to indulge in such shameless profiteering at the cost of the lives of people.
“If these hospitals do not agree to the government rates, we will close them down,” he added.
Expressing concern over the spike in Covid cases in the state, which he attributed to the large number of people coming from other places, he said he had sought from the Centre permission to allow the state to make Covid test certificates mandatory for all those crossing the border.
Amarinder said he had raised the issue with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s video conference with the chief ministers to review the Covid situation.
With 87,000 cars having entered Punjab from Delhi alone in recent days, and the spike in cases in the past only due to outsiders, the threat of the pandemic spiralling further was acute, said the chief minister. He said that he had requested the Prime Minister to allow entry of only those with valid Covid-free certificates.
No shortage of equipment, supplies: CM
In fact, those leaving Punjab should also carry similar certificates to check the spread of the coronavirus into other states, he said.
He reiterated the state’s full preparedness for handling the Covid crisis, with no shortage of equipment and supplies.
For the first time, there had been an increase in the number of people on oxygen and ventilator, he said, adding that the situation was explosive, with cases rising around the world. With easing of restrictions and more testing, the numbers would continue to spike, he warned, adding that timely intervention and adherence to protocols was imperative to save lives.
Elaborating on the state’s medical preparedness, Amarinder said 551 ventilators were already available with government and private hospitals and another 93 had been ordered. The state government had also ordered 4 lakh more N95 masks to supplement the existing stock of 9.25 lakh. In addition, the state had 79 lakh triple layered masks, 2.39 lakh PPE kits and 2200 oxygen cylinders. As far as beds were concerned, more than 6,000 beds had been arranged in government hospitals and another 900 in private hospitals, and currently 2,500 were filled up. In the second state, the state plans to add 10,000 more beds, to be followed by another 30,000 in the third stage, he added.
On a question regarding some industrialists wanting to bring back labourers to the state at their own expense, he said they were most welcome to do so but would need to ensure strict home quarantine for 14 days. In response to a complaint regarding long queues of people in Patiala waiting to pay their challans for violation of Covid norms, he directed the concerned DC to take immediate steps to check crowding.
When his attention was drawn to widespread violation of social distancing norms in Jalandhar, he said he would instruct the SSP and DC to strictly enforce rules. On absence of doctors in hospitals, he said he will ask the health department to resolve the problem urgently. With regard to drugs still being a problem in Khemkaran and Pind Kalra, he said while the backbone of the drugs mafia had been broken, there could still be problems in some areas.