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No provision to create separate Covid wards for VIP’s in HP: Health secretary

The health department on Friday ruled out any possibilities of setting up separate wards for Covid-19 infected VIP’s in Himachal Pradesh.

“No provisions to create separate wards for VIP’s can be made. Everyone will have to avail the same facilities,” health secretary Amitabh Awasthi said while replying to media queries on the demand for setting up VIP wards in Covid care centres in the state. “No one in this pandemic can be treated separately,” he added.

Awasthi, who faced a volley of questions about the mismanagement in the hospitals and Covid centres in Himachal, admitted to certain lapses but simultaneously gave assurances on improving infrastructure for battling the disease. He said there was no dearth of oxygen in hospitals.

He cautioned that the next three weeks are crucial as there has been a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in the state and the situation was similar in other north Indian states including Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Chandigarh. He said social gatherings, marriages and political functions after the ‘Unlock’ led to a surge in infections. “The cabinet had discussed about the Covid situation in detail and all ministers were of the view that political rallies will not benefit anyone,” he said.

Awasthi said makeshift hospitals in Shimla, Mandi and Nalagarh will be readied within next 15 days. “ We have adequate infrastructure and facilities in the state to treat patients,” he said, adding that civil hospitals in Rohru and Rampur have now been upgraded as Covid Care Hospitals.

“It was done so that patients from far flung areas could easily reach these nearby hospitals instead of travelling to Shimla. The government also warned of action against the doctors, paramedics and medics on non-covid duties who were reluctant to treat patients with other diseases. The doctors found negligent of their duty will not be spared and strict punitive action will be taken against them,” Awasthi said amid reports that non covid patients are being sent back without diagnosis from Indira Gandhi Medical Hospital and Deen Dayal Hospital.

He said 30 more ambulances have been added from the districts to supplement the emergency services. Besides, instructions have been given to district administrations to hire four wheel drive ambulance in snowbound areas including Shimla, Rohru, Rampur, Kullu, Lahaul & Spiti and Kinnaur districts. “Any complaints about 108 ambulance provider regarding poor response will be dealt strictly,” he added.

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