Wealthy people block ICU beds despite having no symptoms: Rajesh Tope

Amidst the rise in COVID-19 cases, Maharashtra Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope said that the administration has noticed that patients from rich families were blocking ICU beds, which was creating a manmade scarcity for the same for other genuine patients. He pointed out that often patients decide to go to the ICU on their own and ICU beds are being blocked by pressure.

Tope said that ICU beds should only be available to serious and critical patients. It should not be given to those who have no symptoms. “But, unfortunately, some of the richest people can afford the ICU beds. So, there is often a shortage of ICU beds. District collectors and municipal commissioners should take necessary action. Patients without symptoms will have to be barred from using ICU beds,” noted the minister.

Instructions have been given to keep more ambulances ready for the patients than required.

Tope rebutted the charges levelled by the opposition on the reduction in COVID-19 tests, saying that the government has laid emphasis on 100 percent tracing and testing. “We have made it mandatory to trace 20 people in contact with COVID-19 patients. We are constantly notifying those who are doing less. As the tracing increases, so does testing. Those who are found positive are quarantined and treated,’’ he noted. Tope said that the government proposes to further bring down COVID-19 testing rates to Rs 1,200 from the present Rs 1,900.

The state government has extended the reservation of 80% beds in private hospitals by another three months. Their rates for COVID-19 treatment have been capped.

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