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No tenders issued for running of Jumbo COVID hospitals by PMC

The municipal corporations of Pune has not yet invited bids for contractors to restart two Jumbo Covid hospitals.

The Jumbo centres are being prepped to reopen amid a rise in the number of Covid-19 positives and critical patients.

On Tuesday, the number of critical patients in Pune – either requiring oxygen or ventilators – touched 1,044. On February 17, this number was 435.

Earlier last week, Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao had announced that the Jumbo Covid facilities in PMC will be made ready to admit patients if needed. After Rao’s announcement, the two civic bodies were to float new tenders for the operations. The process had not started till Tuesday.

Abhijit More, health activist and state co-convenor for NGO Jan Arogya Abhiyan, said, “It is essential that the Jumbo hospitals are kept ready. Under the Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Abhiyan scheme, we had contracts with private hospitals to admit Covid patients. These contracts expired in December. As cases were going down, they were not renewed. Under the current circumstances, it is pertinent that Jumbo hospitals are ready so critical patients won’t have to suffer.”

Last year, the government decided to set up two Jumbo hospitals – one at the College of Engineering in Pune (COEP) and another at the Annasaheb Magar stadium in Pimpri-Chinchwad – both by August 20.

However, delays in setting them up and subsequent issues about management of the COEP hospital, only deteriorated patients’ confidence in the facility.

“We haven’t received the order from the divisional commissioner’s office to issue tenders for new operators for the jumbo facility. The audit report from IIT Delhi has been received by the divisional commissioner. Once it gets the clearance from the steering committee we can start the procedure,” said Rubal Agarwal, additional municipal commissioner.

Rao had earlier said till the time patients are admitted into these facilities, they could be used for vaccinations.

The steering committee meeting for the Covid review is scheduled on March 10.

Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao did not respond to phone calls or text messages.

Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh said though the number of positive cases is increasing, the proportion of patients in home isolation is more. He also pointed out that 13,000 tests are being done per day in the district

Dr Avinash Bhondave, president, Indian Medical Association, Maharashtra, said, “The rate at which Covid cases have been rising, there could soon be a shortage of beds in Pune. Currently, beds are available in private hospitals and in Sassoon. In April we may face the situation where enough beds are not available. Jumbo Hospitals should be ready with all basic amenities, infrastructure and trained staff.” Hindustan Times

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